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Northern Ontario First Nations call for help amid mental health crisis

Several First Nations and health officials in northern Ontario are asking for help after declaring a state of emergency over mental health crises across their territories.

Cat Lake First Nation Chief Russell Wesley says nearly 40 per cent of his community are part of a mental wellness program, but they need more help.

He says the health-care system is failing his First Nation, which he says is dealing with an increase in suicides and overdose deaths.

The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority that serves 33 First Nations declared a state of emergency in September after analyzing data that shows an alarming rise in self harm.

New Democrat deputy leader Sol Mamakwa has tabled a motion in the Ontario legislature with the First Nations’ support asking the government to recognize colonialism as a social determinant of health.

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Government House Leader Paul Calandra says the Doug Ford government will not be supporting Mamakwa’s motion.

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&© 2023 The Canadian Press

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