APTN National News
The Ontario government said it would be providing $2 million to fund a Youth Regional Coordination Unit for the Mushkegowuk Council, which includes Attawapiskat as one of its seven member First Nations from the province’s James Bay region.
Ontario’s Minister of Health Eric Hoskins issued a statement announcing the funding following a visit Wednesday to Attawapiskat, a fly-in Cree First Nation currently in the grip of a suicide crisis after recording 11 suicide attempts in a 24-hour period on Saturday.
The statement said the unit would start deploying Wednesday through the province’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT)
The statement said the money would go toward additional emergency health care personnel and support staff to help Attawapiskat through its crisis. The statement said the deployment would provide 24-7 mental health support along with evening and night nursing clinical support. The staff would also include four psychological health workers, five nurses, two security staff, one communications officer and one incident manager.
“This is a very tragic situation and our hearts go out to the people and families affected,” said Hoskins, in the statement. “Ontario is strongly committed to working together with the Attawapiskat community and with First Nations in Ontario alongside our federal partners.”
The statement said the province decide to provide the emergency funding following an assessment by its EMAT unit.
The Ontario government and Attawapiskat’s administration also plan to hold a forum to hash out a long-term plan to support the Cree First Nation “to ensure the people of Attawapiskat—particularly youth—feel safe, respected and supported.”