'Hold your kids tightly': Mom mourns loss of 10-year-old child to suicide
SASKATOON -- As Indigenous leaders called for more for action in the face of a suicide crisis in Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, a mother is mourning the death of her daughter.
Dorothy Angus' 10-year-old daughter Jaylyn died by suicide Nov. 21.
Her death, the third by suicide this month in Makwa Sahgaiehcan, prompted its chief Ronald Mitsuing to declare a state of crisis.
"She was only 10 years old. At that age, how could you think that way," Angus said in an APTN interview shared with CTV News.
"I'm her voice now. If I don't speak out and let others know what has happened to my little girl. How are other people supposed to know?"
A father in his early 40s and a 14-year-old also died by suicide this month. There have been at least six reported suicide attempts in Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation involving youth since the crisis was declared.
"I just want this stop, we keep counting and counting all our people on our reserve, our youth," Angus said. "Not only our youth, even the older ones are starting to take their own lives."
During a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) office Saskatoon Mitsuing said his community is scared suicide will claim another life.
“I can’t sleep anymore at night. My people are in grief right now," Mitsuing said.
Mitsuing called on the provincial government to implement an FSIN suicide prevention strategy released last year and for the federal government to assist.
"It's not only happening here, it's happening at other reserves," Angus said. "We need to stop being quiet about things, we need to speak out and help our youth."
Angus, who is a teacher at the community's school, said Jaylyn had a growing interest in music and was looking forward to getting back to playing hockey.
In the wake of Jaylyn's death, Angus said she's taking time away from work.
"Right now I can't see myself going there, knowing that my daughter is not there."
Being at home can be hard too, she said.
"All there is just her aroma in her room. But I love that smell of her and that's all I have of her," Angus said.
"I just miss her so much."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available. Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645) and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868) offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues. If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. The Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566) is a place where resources on suicide prevention can be found.