First Nation in Saskatchewan says its dealing with suicide crisis brought on by pandemic – APTN

Dec 07, 2021

A councillor for Lac La Ronge Indian Band in northern Saskatchewan says his community of Sucker River is facing a suicide crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Devin Bernatchez said there have been several suicides in his community, including his cousin, in the last month.

“It has a ripple effect,” he told reporters Monday in Regina. “You have suicide attempts too, and I’ve seen it from my own family. My own family, they’re losing hope.”

Bernatchez visited the legislature in Regina where he called on the Saskatchewan Party government to work with the community as it faces a shortage of resources, including counsellors.

During the province’s fourth wave of COVID-19, more than 100 healthcare workers in the north were redeployed to help with the surge in cases. Most have returned, but it left services such as harm reduction with staff shortages for months.

Minister of Rural and Remote Health Everett Hindley said the north continues to face a shortage of counsellors and psychiatrists, creating a backlog for those who need help

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