Ochapowace declares state of emergency

December 17, 2019 7:14 pm

The Ochapowace First Nation declared a state of emergency following a rash of suicides in the communities.

The state of emergency was declared following the suicides of four people in the last three months.

While many First Nations are experiencing suicide among the youth, Ochapowace is facing suicides with men between the ages of 30 and 45.

"As far as declaring the state of emergency, it’s a good way to bring awareness and educational awareness of what’s going on. We need to talk about it, one thing we don't want to do is push it under the rug,” Chief Margaret Bear said

An immediate plan was in put in place where members of the public could seek mental health help, three days a week at the health centre.

Starting on Dec. 22, a therapist will be available every day until Jan. 26.

The band has also instituted a 24/7 Ochapowace suicide prevention and depression line that will run until further notice.

The line is staffed by volunteers in the area, and the First Nation is looking for more volunteers as they head into the holidays.

Those struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts can reach out at 639-205-7997.