Federal NDP calls for end of ‘band-aid solutions’ to Indigenous mental health
4 youths have taken their own lives in northern Saskatchewan in 2 weeks
This article was written by David Shield, CBC News. Oct 21, 2016
The federal NDP is calling for more federal help in combating mental health issues in Indigenous communities across the country.
NDP Indigenous Affairs critic Charlie Angus held a news conference in Saskatoon today, demanding that the federal government provide more mental health resources to First Nations and Métis towns and villages.
“My God, they move slow as molasses when Aboriginal children are dying,” he said. “Just like the previous government, and the previous government before that. It’s not good enough.”
The call for action comes after four girls, ages 10 to 14, committed suicide in northern Saskatchewan this month. The girls were from the communities of Stanley Mission, La Ronge and Deschambault Lake.
Angus said there have been numerous cases of Indigenous youth committing suicide all across the country.
“These are not isolated instances,” he said. “They are predictable. They are predictable if you underfund communities, if you do not give young people support, if you do not give them the resources and the hope, these things will happen.”
Health Canada has announced that seven mental health professionals will travel to Stanley Mission every week, until the end of the year, to counsel at-risk youth. Two additional workers from Pelican Narrows have been sent to Deschambault Lake for immediate support.
An emergency operations centre has been set up in La Ronge.
Monthly visits by child psychologists
However, people from those communities said much more needs to be done. NDP MP Georgina Jolibois lives in northern Saskatchewan, and said her community of La Loche needs much more support.
“Child psychologists may come once a month to La Ronge or to La Loche,” she said. “And the emergency team that they send in is quite often missing the culturally relevant, and elders are not recognized.
Yesterday, Saskatchewan’s Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) said its communities are facing “a state of crisis.” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron is calling for a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the issue.
Continuing reading this article at CBC.