Honouring Life (formerly Aboriginal Youth and Community Empowerment Strategy or AYCES) is a youth life promotion and suicide prevention program developed to support First Nation and Métis communities by building capacity in mental wellness, resiliency, and healthy lifestyle promotion.
The vision of Honouring Life is that Indigenous youth in Alberta experience life with hope, meaning, belonging, and purpose; and that Indigenous communities have the knowledge, vision, and capacity to support joyful, vibrant, and purposeful youth.
The Indigenous Wellness Core (IWC) will be administering ongoing funding for Honouring Life. This funding allows Honouring Life to expand across Alberta serving more First Nation Communities, Métis Settlements, the Métis Nation of Alberta and Indigenous-serving organizations.
Honouring Life has established a second, short-term funding stream for Indigenous youth mental health crisis response.
Contact Honouring Life for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2002, Indigenous peoples within Alberta expressed concern about the future of their children and youth. Several Chiefs and their councils requested assistance from the Government of Alberta in addressing the high rate of suicide among Indigenous children and youth. Responding to this request, a number of Government of Alberta ministries came together to develop a plan to work with Indigenous communities to address the issue of youth suicide.
A strategy was developed and evolved over the years. In 2009, the focus was redirected to life-affirming strategies and became known as the Aboriginal Youth and Communities Empowerment Strategy (AYCES). In November 2017, the name was formally changed from AYCES to Honouring Life program through a traditional naming ceremony conducted by Indigenous Elders.
In 2018, Alberta Health committed Grant Funding over four years to AHS to operate and coordinate the Honouring Life Program. As of 2022, ongoing funding will be available , long-term, to support Indigenous youth across Alberta.
The Honouring Life program is based on the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (FNMWCF). The FNMWC is a national framework that addresses mental wellness and was developed collaboratively with the Assembly of First Nations, Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation, the Native Mental Health Association, and other community mental health leaders. The model provides a framework for envisioning a comprehensive continuum of care to support mental wellness with culture as the foundation.