North

'We don't talk about it enough,' says Fort Resolution wellness worker after 2 suicide attempts

Two youth were medevaced out of Fort Resolution, N.W.T., within the last month after they tried to take their own lives, and Wilfred Simon believes there are more in need of help.

Wilfred Simon says it's time to bring discussion about suicide out into the open

With two youth attempting suicide in less than two weeks, Fort Resolution's wellness worker says it's time for people to start talking. 

Two youth were medevaced out of the community within the last month after they tried to take their own lives. But community wellness worker, Wilfred Simon, believes those are just the cases community members know about.

"There's some where it's out in the open, they get medevaced out," Simon said. "There's many others that aren't spoken of."

Wilfred Simon is a Fort Resolution wellness worker. He says an upcoming workshop in the community will be a chance for young people to come together and tell leadership what they need to succeed. (Wilfred Simon)

"We don't talk about it enough. We don't talk about what happened before. We don't talk about what's happening today. If you talk about it it's a no-no."

Simon believes a mix of alcohol and drug addiction has many of the community's young people losing hope.

"We have a lot of bootleggers in town that sell to kids. They're 14 years old and they're drinking like an adult. 'Adult-youth' I call them. They're not youth anymore.

"If you're young, drinking and doing drugs without any care for yourself, for me, that's a form of suicide."

Some youth see no way out

Seventeen year-old Laney Beaulieu says the bigger issue is the lack of opportunity for teens.

Laney Beaulieu is a Fort Resolution, N.W.T., youth who says it can be hard to see there's a bigger world outside the community. (Laney Beaulieu)
"Because we're so small and isolated it's kind of hard to see that you can have a life outside of Res [Fort Resolution], that there's a world outside of Res."

Beaulieu is heading to the University of Western Ontario in the fall to study medical sciences. She hopes to be the first community member to become a doctor.

In light of the recent suicide attempts, Simon and other community leaders are holding a 12-day workshop beginning August 8 for the community's youth. Facilitators from British Columbia will lead sessions on grief and addictions.

Simon says it will also be a chance for the community's young people to come together and tell leadership what youth need to succeed.

"We each have our time. Today is Fort Res's day. It's a thing that happens to communities, like ours, that struggle. It's nobody's fault. There isn't someone to blame."

If you are grappling with suicide in the N.W.T., call the confidential NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844.

You can also call the First Nations and Inuit Wellness Watch 24/7 at 1-855-242-3310 or Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a counsellor.

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