Sask. First Nation's teachers 'emotionally drained' after youth suicides
Published Friday, November 22, 2019 8:34PM CST Last Updated Friday, November 22, 2019 8:37PM CST
Tara Olsen is Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation School's vice principal.
SASKATOON -- After three suicides in less than a month, including two children who died, educators at Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation's school are feeling overwhelmed.
"The teachers, they're all having mental breakdowns, mentally exhausted and emotionally drained," Cheyenne Fineblanket, a teacher at the community's school said Friday afternoon.
Leaders in the community, located in northwest Saskatchewan, declared a state of crisis Thursday night after a 10-year-old girl died by suicide.
“We’re in a place where we’re physically and emotionally unable to deal with this properly,” band manager Barry Chalifoux said.
Earlier this month a 14-year-old died by suicide and a recent suicide claimed the life of a father in his 40s.
The community is requesting emergency mental health support, and more specifically, for children in school to be assessed with parental permission.
"My first initial reaction was 'not another one,'" Tara Olsen, the school's vice principal, said.
"Is this going to keep happening, we have to work together as a community to fix these mental health issues these kids are going through."
On Friday, the Saskatchewan government said the province's health authority was prepared to offer staff trained in suicide risk assessment to help in the community.
Indigenous Services Canada also pledged mental health and crisis support for the First Nation.
With files from CTV News Saskatoon's Lisa Risom
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), Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566) or Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868), Kids Help can also be reached via live chat https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/ or by texting CONNECT to 686868 to start chatting with a crisis responder. These resources can 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.