The leader of a Saskatchewan First Nation says people are struggling to understand why so many young indigenous girls are killing themselves.
Since the middle of October, six girls between the ages of 10 and 14 have taken their own lives in northern Saskatchewan, including four from the Lac La Ronge Indian band.
Chief Tammy Cook-Searson says the community is working through the pain to reach out to young people in the hope of preventing more deaths.
She says the First Nation is working with social agencies and the provincial and federal governments to stabilize the situation.
Emergency operations centres have been set up to co-ordinate programs, there are grief and parenting workshops and more mental- health workers are available to provide counselling.
The band is also working with the Red Cross to develop a community safety plan.
The chief says the key to stopping the suicides will be letting girls know that people want to help them, their friends or family if they are hurting.
There is a plan to send counsellors into schools in the hope the message gets through to students in Grades 7 through 9.
The goal is to identify youth who are at risk of harming themselves.
(The Canadian Press)