ATTAWAPISKAT, Ont. – A remote northern Ontario First Nation has declared a state of emergency after numerous suicide attempts this week.
The Attawapiskat First Nation on James Bay is home to about 2,000 people.
Charlie Angus, the local MP and NDP critic for indigenous affairs, said that there is a suicide epidemic in the community.
Angus called it a “rolling nightmare” of more and more suicide attempts among young people throughout the winter.
The situation led the Attawapiskat chief and council to declare a state of emergency on Saturday.
But Angus says the designation may not have the immediate effects that it would elsewhere.
“If it was declared in any other community, it would have an immediate response,” he says. “I’ve lost count of the states of emergency in the James Bay region since I was elected.”
And he says that, most often, they go unnoticed by the federal government.
A representative from Health Canada said in a written statement that two mental health counsellors have been sent to the community as part of a Nishnawbe Aski Nation crisis response unit.