Crisis team dispatched to Attawapiskat after state of emergency declared over suicides

Click to play video: 'Attawapiskat declares state of emergency after reaching precipice of suicide attempts'
Attawapiskat declares state of emergency after reaching precipice of suicide attempts
WATCH ABOVE: An epidemic of suicide attempts has reached a precipice in the northern community of Attawapiskat and a state of emergency was declared by local leaders in the community after 11 suicide attempts alone on Saturday night – Apr 10, 2016

ATTAWAPISKAT, Ont. – The federal and Ontario governments are moving to help a remote First Nation that has declared a state of emergency due to a rising number of suicide attempts among its young people.

The federal and Ontario health ministers said Sunday that a crisis team, including mental health nurses and social workers, was being flown immediately to the James Bay community of about 2,000.

READ MORE: First Nation community looks to ‘heal together’ after recent suicides

Attawapiskat resident Jackie Hookimaw says the suicide epidemic started last fall, when a number of people tried to kill themselves.

Hookimaw, whose 13-year-old great niece took her own life in October, says the community doesn’t have the resources to deal with the crisis.

That sentiment was echoed by the local MP, New Democrat Charlie Angus, who said northern communities aren’t given the resources they need to deal with complicated grief.

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READ MORE: More direction needed for aboriginals and mentally ill in Canada’s justice system

Angus said it has been a “rolling nightmare” of more and more suicide attempts among young people throughout the winter.

He said the community didn’t think it could get any worse than it was in March, but April brought even more suicide attempts.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the news from Attawapiskat “heartbreaking.”

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