Providing for the Needs of Youth With Suicidal Behaviours in Governmental Care
Ashton, Aaron Michael
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This thesis explores the work being done by the Ministry of Social Services (MSS) with youth-in-care in the province of Saskatchewan who are displaying suicidal behaviours. It aims to answer the research questions: 1) How are youth-in-care with suicidal behaviours being supported? 2) Are these approaches successful? and 3) how do the supports and services provided by MSS align with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action? The goal of this research was to explore what services and supports are being provided by MSS to those youth-in-care exhibiting suicidal behaviours; determine if these supports are successful in reducing the prevalence of those behaviours and examine those supports from a human rights perspective. This study used a qualitative, multiple case study method; utilizing content analysis to review and analyze the cases of eight different youths, all of whom had been exhibiting suicidal behaviours while in the care of MSS. This research demonstrates just how significant the issue of youth mental health is, and how intertwined it is with many other significant issues faced by today’s youth, including addictions, trauma, and historic abuse. This study analyzes the complexities of working with youth, many of whom are dealing with multiple issues concurrently, but also in partnership with other organizations who are trying to help the youths. This study demonstrates that strong and supportive treatment plans being created for youth exhibiting suicidal behaviours can be successful in reducing the prevalence of those behaviours. I conclude that by providing appropriate mental health and addictions programming, and by appropriately supporting a youth’s independence, there is potential to reduce a youth’s suicidal behaviours.