FINDING THE WAY BACK: AN AGGREGATE INVESTIGATION OF 45 BOYS WHO DIED BY SUICIDE OR HOMICIDE IN MANITOBA
Too often unseen, boys in Manitoba need our attention. As a follow-up to a 2020 investigation focused on the suicide deaths of girls, the Manitoba Advocate set out to see what common issues exist among boys in Manitoba who are at risk of suicide or homicide and what systemic improvements can be made to help young men, particularly those who are First Nations, Metis, or Inuit. Of the 45 boys with experience in the child welfare system who died by either suicide or homicide and whose stories inspired this special report, 78% were identified as First Nations youth and 49% lived in northern Manitoba.
Guided by the office’s Knowledge Keeper and Elders Council, the Manitoba Advocate combined investigative and qualitative research approaches in the drafting of this report. Together with Dr. Marlyn Bennett, an Indigenous scholar and professor at the University of Manitoba, the office also held a digital storytelling workshop with two First Nations young men, Michael Breland and Trevor Merasty. They created a music video being released alongside the report, which details some of their lived experiences. In accordance with her authority under The Advocate for Children and Youth Act, and in alignment with Calls to Action from the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Manitoba Advocate is making four recommendations in this report to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of child welfare, education, and youth justice services in Manitoba.