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Remote Canadian town declares emergency after 11 young people attempt suicide in one night…

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Unexplained rash of suicides – 11 people in one night ‘on top of 90 people who have tried to kill themselves in the last eight months’

  • Bruce Shisheesh, chief of Attawapiskat First Nation, declared emergency

  • Held emergency council meeting on Saturday after mass suicide attempt

  • Since September 101 people in town of 2,000 have tried to kill themselves

  • Eldest was 71, youngest was 11, and only girl to die so far was aged 13

  • Town has Four health workers with no mental health training were left unable to cope

A remote indigenous town in Canada has declared a state of emergency amid a suicide epidemic that saw 11 young people try and take their lives in a single night.
Council leaders in Attawapiskat First Nation, a town of just 2,000 people on remote James Bay, say they have been ‘overwhelmed’ with the number of suicide attempts in recent months.
Since September last year 101 people aged from 11 to 71 have attempted suicide with only four health workers, none of whom have mental health training, left to deal with the fall-out.

remote_suicide2Chief Bruce Shisheesh, leader of Attawapiskat First Nation (pictured), Canada, declared the emergency on Saturday night following another mass suicide attempt
remote_suicide4Shisheesh said that overcrowding, with 14 or 15 people living to a house (pictured) was one cause of the suicides, along with drug abuse, and physical and sexual abuse

Hookimaw, speaking to the National Post, said Sheridan had been plagued with multiple health conditions and was being teased at school before killing herself. Sheridan’s death sparked a string of other suicide attempts, which local MP Charlie Angus puts down to a lack of services to support young people after tragic event.
He said: ‘When a young person tries to commit suicide in any suburban school, they send in the resources, they send in the emergency team. There’s a standard protocol for response.
‘The northern communities are left on their own. We don’t have the mental health service dollars. We don’t have the resources.’
Four health workers in Attawapiskat, who have no mental health training, have been overwhelmed by 101 suicide attempts in eight months, with almost one attempt per day in March

Four health workers in Attawapiskat, who have no mental health training, have been overwhelmed by 101 suicide attempts in eight months, with almost one attempt per day in March

Shisheesh said overcrowding, with 14 to 15 people living in a single home, along with physical and sexual abuse, and drug use are all leading causes of suicide in the community. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new Prime Minister, has made improving the lives of aboriginal people a cornerstone of his administration.
In his first budget since assuming office, presented last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau promised billions more in spending to address issues such as education, child services and quality of water in remote communities. On Twitter, Trudeau said: ‘The news from Attawapiskat is heartbreaking. We’ll continue to work to improve living conditions for all Indigenous peoples.’
Meanwhile Ontario heath minister Eric Hoskins said: ‘We will be providing additional health-care experts as needed and we have contacted the ministry of children and youth services about providing emergency life-promotion supports.’

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