It's OK to ask for help: A youth-driven poster campaign celebrates life and culture

February 09, 2018
text from poster

A youth-driven poster campaign that highlights suicide prevention and awareness launches this week in Eeyou Istchee. The goals of this campaign are to reinforce the idea that our identity as Cree people can help with our wellbeing , to encourage people to seek help if they need it, and that it’s important to involve youth in issues that affect them.

Download the posters

View the video on Youtube

The project is a collaborative partnership between CBHSSJB’s Maanuuhiikuu Mental Health Department, Naakitiwaayititaau Pimaatisiiun Regional Committee on Suicide Prevention, and the arts program MikwChiyam.

These partners worked with youth to create posters that encourage anyone in crisis to reach out for help, while promoting wellness and Cree culture. The partners also created a video that documents the project. “This project gave [the youth] an opportunity to participate and be involved on an issue that they are affected by. They used their art to express their thoughts surrounding the issue of suicide” says Pauline Bobbish, Planning, Programming and Research Officer for the Maanuuhiikuu Mental Health Department. “It was a very enriching collaboration to be able to work with the youth, showcasing their talents.  “

In the summer of 2016, Juliana Snowboy, Maanuuhiikuu Mental Health Coordinator, met with Moe Clark, an artist and teacher with MikwChiyam, and they discussed the possibility of collaborating on youth-driven poster campaign. A year and a half later, these posters will be displayed in buildings across Eeyou Istchee and on social media.

“We believe that we need to have more awareness around suicide prevention, and this poster/video campaign is one way to approach it,” says Pauline Bobbish. “The messages in the posters are written from a Cree mindset and they are simple and powerful messages to remind us that life is important and sacred.”

Mental health programs and services, especially for youth, are among the top priorities in the new Strategic Regional Plan of the Cree Health Board.