Manitoba

God's Lake First Nation calls state of emergency over suicide crisis

A northern Manitoba First Nation has called a state of emergency in response to a rash of suicide attempts that left four young people dead.

Chief reports 4 deaths and 22 attempts so far this summer

Garrison Settee, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, wants federal help to deal with the suicide crisis at God's Lake First Nation in northeastern Manitoba. (John Einarson/CBC)

A northern Manitoba First Nation has called a state of emergency in response to a rash of suicide attempts that left four young people dead.

"We have been dealing with an ongoing crisis in our community every day this summer," Chief Gilbert Andrews of God's Lake First Nation said in an emailed statement to media Thursday.

"This is a crisis that our health staff are dealing with every day and we need help immediately."

The statement, issued by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, an organization that represents northern First Nations, said the community has been in the grips of a meth crisis, along with addictions to alcohol and other drugs.

It said the First Nation, located about 550 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, has been hit by four suicides, as well as 22 other attempts over the summer.

"We have called on officials with the government of Canada to ensure the community receives proper resources such as qualified therapists," said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee. "MKO is also sending our mobile crisis response team to the community today."

In the statement, Andrews said God's Lake is planning a community meeting next week to discuss the issue and work on a plan of action. 

If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, there is help out there. Contact the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line toll-free at 1-877-435-7170 (1-877-HELP170) or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or text Kids Help Phone at 686868.

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