Suicides, my heart breaks each time I hear about another suicide or suicide attempt anywhere but lately our Canadian reservations are having an epidemic. In just one weekend there were 11 suicide attempts on one northern reserve in Ontario. The community is home to an estimated 2,000 people so for 11 suicide attempts in one weekend, you may understand why there is an epidemic not only on that one reservation but on many reservations. Is there an easy solution to stop what’s happening on these reserves? No but we have to open our eyes and then be ready to put shovels to the ground not just words on an empty net.
When did the suicides start?
Although the reservation has been plagued for decades by suicide and suicide attempts, in 2015 the suicides and suicide attempts dramatically increased, according to community member, Jackie Hookimaw. Jackie said she lost her great-niece Sheridan in the most recent youth suicide attempts. Sheridan took her life at just age 13 in October 2015. Sheridan was a person not just a name in the news or a mention in a community or two. She was someone’s baby. She deserved more than she received. How can we be okay with this? I’m not.
What are people doing to help end this epidemic?
The first step to getting the help his people need, was for Chief Bruce Shisheesh and the band council to declare a state of emergency on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation Crisis Response Team has been called in. Both the federal and Ontario health ministers stated the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority Hospital immediately flew in a crisis team which included mental health nurses and social workers to assist the community during the crisis. The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, has offered the chief of Attawapiskat his ongoing support and seeking long-term help after the epidemic is over and immediate action to end the epidemic. Perry added that the cris was a “national tragedy”.
So why not just end reserves and let the people move into urban life?
Wouldn’t that be cool if that was the solution to the indigenous or First Nations people of Canada ending suicides and suicide ideation? Reality says otherwise according to statistics. Even off reserves, our indigenous or First Nations people still admit to having thoughts of attempting to end their lives or have tried. Statistics show that, while every race in Canada has either made a suicide attempt or thought about it, the acts of suicide are highest among the off-reserve First Nations people. There is a real problem and we need to find real solutions before one more mother is missing their child.
Suicide becomes an option when a person feels like nothing will ever change but it can change.
What do I think can be done to help?
I think that we don’t need the government to come in and put a bandaid over the open wounds on the reserves alone, but we ALL need to step up and try to help one small reserve at a time. Okay stop laughing. I’m serious. If we can do big fundraisers for charities in our country, why can’t we do something to help raise funds for the reserves to at least fix the darn houses and give those kids a school to attend with facilities to have fun at after school is done. We can do fundraisers for people all over the world who are seeing devastation from natural and unnatural disasters. We can accept thousands of people from others countries to help give them a new place to call home. We can do this too if we all care enough to do it.
I’m going to do live broadcasts on YouTube about this and what I think we can do to help. I’m also doing live scopes on Periscope. Sharing this on my Instagram channel. Tweeting my heart out. Facebookng my heart out on all my pages and any other social media I use.
Please help these kids and put aside what you think about how they got that point and concentrate more on how we can help them up and show them that life will get better. My idea doesn’t involve giving the chief or the band council the donations. I hope you are interested in knowing more. If these children were your family, you’d care enough to do something, so do something.
Thanks for reading my blog today and keep your beautiful self.