NCN chief urges anyone struggling to look for help after recent suicides

A remote northern community made the sad announcement on Sunday that another one of its community members has taken their own life and the community’s chief is imploring anyone considering harming themselves to reach out for help before it’s too late.

“It is with great sadness that NCN has lost another community member to suicide,” Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) Chief Angela Levasseur said in a notice posted on NCN’s website on Sunday. “Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with the families, friends, and community in this time of significant and tragic loss.”

It is not known how many NCN members have lost their lives to suicide in recent months, but the notice did say that the community has now “lost another community member to suicide in a short period.”

Levasseur has said in the past that NCN has in in the last few years been dealing with increasing issues of addictions, violence and abuse, which has been leading to increasing mental health challenges in the community.

She asks any NCN members considering suicide or self-harm to reach out for help.

“In these times of crisis, it is natural to feel strong emotions and feelings that are difficult to cope with,” she said. “Times of crisis can bring on intense feelings that some people may not know how to cope with. Some people may even be thinking about taking their own lives.

“Speaking with family and friends or talking with a trusted mental health professional will help people cope with these feelings and also feelings associated with grief and loss. The important thing is finding someone willing to listen in a kind, respectful, and non-judgmental way.”

NCN said in their Sunday notice that anyone considering suicide or actively trying to harm themselves can call the NCN RCMP at 204-484-2288, NCN Family and Community Wellness Centre at 204-484-2341, or the national 24/7 Suicide Crisis Helpline at 988.

“At this difficult and painful time, we all must support one another and unite as a community to keep everyone safe. Our people need to show each other love instead of hate and treat one another with kindness and compassion now, more than ever,” Levasseur said.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun