Life Promotion

Thunderbird advocates for life promotion by supporting and shaping wholistic wellness in First Nations communities. Life promotion shares insight into suicide prevention, and the trauma of suicide while cultivating an attitude towards living life.

Life promotion sets a foundation for mental wellness for the next seven generations through Hope, Belonging, Meaning, and Purpose.

How Thunderbird supports Life Promotion

Adopting a wholistic view
Think about the whole person through a shift in language around suicide, one that is strength-based and recognizes the wellness of the whole person (spiritual, emotional, mental and physical).
Indigenous Determinants of Health
Attending to community-level factors that contribute to living a good life.
Developing knowledge translation tools that honour First Nations culture and strengths, while building capacity and access to resources, supporting connection to land, family, and community.
Collaborating with partners
Working with communities, First Nations organizations, health partners, educators, Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Indigenous youth to develop strategies to address suicide and promote life.
Promoting and fostering a youth-driven initiative
A commitment of engaging First Nations youth and young leaders in life promotion activities and projects in their communities.
Discovery and learning
Centred on identifying wise practices that contribute to individuals living a good life, as indicated through a sense of Hope, Belonging, Meaning and Purpose.
Balance of suicide prevention and life promotion
While leading with life promotion, recognizing suicide prevention initiatives and programs are also critical in First Nations communities.
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Life promotion

  • Leads with Indigenous ways of knowing and being
  • Emphasizes culture-based interventions
  • Focuses on community level-factors and the Indigenous social determinants of health
  • Strength-based since it works to enhance protective factors
  • Centred on the whole person perspective to promote wholistic wellness and foster a sense of Hope, Belonging, Meaning and Purpose

A comprehensive approach should include both.

Suicide prevention

  • Focuses just on the individual and does not account for community level factors that contribute to suicide
  • Emphasizes Western treatment interventions, such as counselling, psychotherapy etc.
  • Deficit-based, focuses on personal shortfalls of individuals
  • On its own, it is not enough to lower suicide rates in First Nations communities

Life Promotion Toolkit

Thunderbird’s Life Promotion Toolkit was released at the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in August 2021. The toolkit delivers what youth have long called for– information aimed at promoting life rather than focusing on preventing death.

To arrange a youth presentation of the Life Promotion toolkit, contact us at

A Life Promotion Toolkit by Indigenous Youth

Strengthening Our Connections to Promote Life: A Life Promotion Toolkit by Indigenous Youth was proposed in 2019 to develop a youth-focused and youth-led response to suicide, mental wellness, and substance use in Indigenous communities.

All of Thunderbird’s life promotion initiatives are led by First Nations and focus on the community, families, and the individual. The voices of First Nations youth are always included when developing any national or regional strategy. Thunderbird’s life promotion work continues to be supported through a working group and the creation of a national framework.