First Nations leaders ask for help with mental health crisis in remote community

THUNDER BAY — First Nations leaders in Northern Ontario are calling on the federal and provincial governments to help a remote community in the midst of a mental-health crisis.

Chief Sam Mamakwa of Wunnumin Lake First Nation made the plea with support from Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Mamakwa says there were three deaths, one by suicide, in a 36-hour span last week.

Wunnumin Lake First Nation has about 565 people living within the reserve that’s 360 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ont.

Grand Chief Derek Fox of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says that although crisis teams were deployed to Wunnumin Lake, there’s no telling how many people have been traumatized by the quick succession of deaths.

Fox says he’s concerned that these deaths could set off a chain reaction, which is why government intervention is necessary.

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