The Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation is mourning the loss of two youths who took their own lives in recent days.
Chief Louie Mercredi said two teenagers, both members of the First Nation, died this past week. The suicides involved a 16-year-old boy in Fond du Lac late last week, and a 15-year-old girl this past weekend in Saskatoon.
“The community is really, really hurting,” Mercredi said. “The community at large needs services like mental health services, grieving services.”
The province’s children’s advocate, Corey O’Soup called for action on the issue in December during the release of a report about the high number of suicides among Indigenous youth in northern Saskatchewan.
Mercredi said the First Nation held an emergency meeting Monday, to brainstorm a plan to improve support services. The chief said they have reached out to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and Prince Albert Grand Council for assistance. The First Nation has also contacted officials with the Lac La Ronge Indian Band for additional advice, Mercredi said.
The local health centre has already expanded their hours, Mercredi said, and stays open until about 10 p.m. nightly. The chief encouraged anyone to visit the health centre if they are in need of support services.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s youth or Elders,” Mercredi said. “Please feel free to contact the health centre to get the help that’s required.”
The suicides follow the recent death of another young Fond du Lac resident, 19-year-old Arson Jr. Fern. Fern passed away after he was badly injured in a passenger plane crash last month. Mercredi said the 16-year-old boy took his own life in the days immediately after Fern’s funeral Jan. 2, but he could not say whether the youths and Fern were friends or speculate on the motivations behind the suicides.