Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation calls state of crisis after 3 recent suicides

The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation has called a state of crisis and emergency after three recent suicides, the latest involving a 10-year-old.

Barry Mitsuing Chalifoux, the CEO and executive director of the nation, made the announcement in a press release Thursday evening.

According to Chalifoux, the First Nation has seen seven suicides in the last three years, with the most recent one that occurred on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 21 being the youngest.

READ MORE: Woman confirmed dead in Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation house fire

“Chief Mitsuing and I both feel our staff are not ready or prepared to deal with the current level of crisis in the community; considering how close in timing each event has recently occurred,” Chalifoux said in a statement.

“The staff have been operating in crisis mode all year.”

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Chalifoux says that the nation’s registered psychologist Bonny Peng is “overwhelmed” and “feels she cannot proceed further without immediate help,” while their secondary registered therapist also is overwhelmed and was closely related to the latest suicide.

FSIN, Sask. teachers call on gov’ts to invest more for Indigenous students

FSIN, Sask. teachers call on gov’ts to invest more for Indigenous students

Chalifoux says their health director also has recently suffered a close loss in her family.

“Our community support team is in need of immediate relief,” he said.

READ MORE: Sheshatshiu: Innu First Nation in Labrador declares suicide crisis

Chalifoux is asking for a crisis/counselling team to be dispatched for every school-aged child that has parental permission to be assessed, and for immediate funding to hire a “specified suicide support coordinator” and additional counsellors.

“Community professionals within the community have expressed dire concern for the welfare and future of those in our community,” he said.

“We are calling on our local, provincial and federal governments for support.”

Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation is located in Loon Lake, Sask., northeast of Lloydminster.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

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