3 Saskatchewan First Nations declare mental health emergency
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations calling on a meeting with the prime minister
Three Saskatchewan First Nations have declared a mental health state of emergency after a rash of drug-related deaths and they're calling for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Monday the Fort Pelly Agency of Chiefs representing Cote, Key and Keeseekoose First Nations, said the three communities saw about 100 combined deaths in 2015, and they're asking all levels of government to intervene. The Key, Cote and Keeseekoose First Nations combined have a population of less than 2,000.
- Pimicikamak declares state of emergency to deal with suicide crisis
- NDP pledges to close funding gap for First Nations schools
"We have to get the ear of every level of government, our health region, our province and our federation," said Ted Quewezance, senate chair with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN).
"We got to do something and this is our first step."
The call to action comes after four deaths in one day on the Cote First Nation on Feb. 27. Three people died from prescription drug overdoses and one person was killed in a homicide.
"You know we have over 100 people on methadone and we have people falling like flies from overdoses, mixing prescription drugs and narcotics, you name it," Quewezance said.
"A normal person goes to about seven to 10 funerals in his lifetime, and you know what? I've been to 400 funerals in my three communities."
The chiefs of the three First Nations say most of the deaths can be attributed to addictions and mental health issues. They're calling on the prime minister, the federal health minister and the provincial government to sit down and discuss how to deliver a health care strategy to First Nations that works.
Popular in News
1 2101 reading now Donald Trump says 'rocket man' Kim Jong-un is 'on a suicide mission'
- 2 1743 reading now Trudeau pledges to push through tax fairness agenda and defends own family's use of tax rules
- 3 945 reading now Equifax says 100,000 Canadians impacted by cybersecurity breach
- 4 644 reading now Hurricane Maria kills 1 on Guadeloupe, takes aim at Puerto Rico
- 5 554 reading now Bear warning: How to stop trains from killing Canada's grizzly bears