Northern youth to join anti-bullying research
- Julia Peterson | March 01, 2021
Northern youth are being invited to flip the script and deliver “report cards” on how their communities are doing addressing youth violence and bullying.
The exercise will be part of a $400,000 research project led by Dr. Raven Sinclair of the University of Regina faculty of Social Work and will involve 16 to 21-year-olds.
“Participants will learn to use digital storytelling to create individual and group stories related to the community and will share project information with stakeholders across the province. Recommendations for supports and resources will be implemented in each community,” Sinclair said.
Dr. Brigitte Krieg, a mental health therapist involved in the project said, “They will be teaching us what’s working for them, what’s not working and what needs to change in order to create opportunities within the schools and within their communities. What is it they need in order to be successful?”
Kreig says the plan is to credit the participants as authors in the study report, which is expected to be complete before the end of 2021.
The research team is recruiting participants now in Prince Albert, Pelican Narrows, Wollaston Lake, Stanley Mission and Fond Du Lac. For more information contact email@example.com.
The Northern Prairie Spirit Youth Cultural Continuity Project will collaborate with the young people to better understand violence and bullying from their perspectives.
Researchers want to know how young people want their community leaders, resource providers and policy makers to address these issues.
Krieg says the federal government’s support for the project goes beyond funding.
During a November phone call, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair expressed interest in the project, she said.
“He has made a commitment to having the youth come and share some of their findings - going out to Ontario to share some of the findings they have from the project,” she said, adding such trips will be arranged when it is safe to travel again.
“This commitment from Minister Blair means that more youth will have that opportunity to have their voices heard,” she said.
The project will help Indigenous youth in Saskatchewan to be heard, which they “absolutely” are not now, Krieg said.
Regardless of where they are, in urban areas or remote northern communities, youth are forgotten, she said. They are under-resourced and under-supported.
“We lack… understanding about the struggles that youth have in northern and remote areas.”
Access to support and services for anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts can be a challenge, she said.
“They will be teaching us what’s working for them, what’s not working and what needs to change in order to create opportunities within the schools and within their communities,” said Krieg. “What is it they need in order to be successful?”
The research team hopes to get started in the communities by May or June.
“It’s a chance to be part of something and to learn - not just from each other in your own communities, but then having that opportunity to connect with other youth from other communities who are experiencing some of the same things,” she said. “I think this will create a kind of camaraderie with our youth where they can lean on one another, support each other and then also learn from each other.”