Intended for healthcare professionals


Health workers sent to indigenous Canadian community beset by attempted suicides

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 18 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2210
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Health workers have arrived at the indigenous reservation of Attawapiskat First Nation in Canada’s James Bay after 11 people attempted suicide on 9 April. Local leaders of the community of 2000 people had already declared a state of emergency after 100 suicide attempts were made this winter.

Chief Bruce Shisheesh and his councillors called for outside help after the latest suicide attempts. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the organisation representing the First Nations of northern Ontario, responded first with two mental health counsellors. The federal government sent five mental health workers, while the province dispatched four psychological health workers and up to five nurses.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation sent two doctors, a traditional healer, and nurses from a hospital in Moose Factory, a small community to the south. Three of the four …

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