Neskantaga First Nation works to uplift community since suicide crisis 10 years ago – iHeart Radio

Small, white crosses dot a graveyard just outside Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario. Some graves are marked with white picket fences, flowers have been placed at others.

Most have no names or ages, but some do.

A 16-year-old girl rests in one plot, a 13-year-old in another. Suicide brought them there.

Ten years ago, Neskantaga First Nation — a remote community with a population of about 450 — declared a state of emergency after four suicides and several attempted suicides by teens.

The state of emergency officially remains, but the community quietly spoke about a small milestone this past summer: no one had killed themselves in Neskantaga in three years.

Several measures helped get to that point — there are mental-health counsellors who rotate into the community, outdoor activities that help youth connect with traditional practices, and festivals that bring community members together.

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