Today May 25, 2024
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River of Life is an online course designed to engage, educate and empower anyone wanting to understand suicide prevention for the Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Who Should Take the Course?
The prevention of Aboriginal youth suicide is a community effort and therefore the responsibility should not be left to a single person. The front line workers are obviously those directly involved in the health and well being of the youth in their community.

Mental health workers, addiction counsellors, nurses, youth counsellors, community outreach workers and social services personnel are some of those occupations who should be equipped with the skills to identify and enhance the protective factors that will mitigate the risk of suicide.

In addition, we recommend that police, teachers, Friendship Center staff, probation officers, correctional services workers, foster parents, Elders, band council members and clergy also participate.

Course Objectives:
  1. Explain the current context of youth suicide within Aboriginal Communities;
  2. Describe the impact of key historical events that have disrupted cultural continuity and continue to negatively impact Aboriginal youth;
  3. Identify and define factors that either protect or put Aboriginal youth at risk of suicide;
  4. Recognize the warning signs or invitations suggesting that an Aboriginal youth might be at risk of suicide;
  5. Recall the legal responsibilities when working with Aboriginal youth at risk of suicide; and
  6. Define the three levels of suicide response: Prevention, Intervention and Postvention.
The course is presented in 8 modules:
Module 1 - Understanding Youth Suicide
Module 2 - Strength in Culture and Community
Module 3 - Aboriginal Experiences
Module 4 - Protective Factors
Module 5 - Risk Factors
Module 6 - The Apology
Module 7 - Teachings
Module 8 - Prevention, Intervention and Postvention

Course Duration:
The course is self paced so course duration will depend on the individual participant and their prior knowledge base with the course subject matter. On average, the course will take between 20 - 24 hours to complete.

Evaluation Process:
At the end of each module, there is a module test that each course participant must successfully complete with a passing grade before continuing to the next module.

Upon successfully completing all modules there is a printable certificate for your records.

Professional Resources: Curriculum and Creative Development
River of Life curriculum text and associated graphic images have been developed and overseen by Centre for Suicide Prevention staff: 
- Rani Murji, Masters of Philosophy in Social Frameworks of Education; and 
- Brenda Ann Taylor, Masters in Communication Studies 

Professional Contributors from the Centre for Suicide Prevention include:
    - Laurel Bridges, Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology;
- Priscilla Lalonde, Bachelors of Social Work, Registered Social Worker;
- Suzanne McLeod, PhD candidate in Native American Studies; and
- Diane Yackel, Masters of Arts in Counseling, Fellow in Thanatology.