With the province learning this week of two more possible suicide attempts in La Loche, more communication continues with northern Saskatchewan communities to address their needs which include mental health services.
Greg Ottenbreit Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health said he was recently touring northern communities and learned , while their efforts have helped, they need to continue to provide aide.
“To a certain extent they’re happy with some of the supports in place, but they are looking for more support and it’s obvious when we have suicides that do continue to happen that there is need for more work to be done with continued communication and planning,” Ottenbreit said.
Ottenbreit said they have been able to recruit a community mental health worker and community nurse for La Loche to specifically address residents mental health needs.
Buckley Belanger NDP MLA for Athabasca responded, saying the province needs to listen closer to what northern Saskatchewan residents are asking for.
“We just need leadership, and we need to see some solid programs coming forward. One of the things that a lot of people are calling for is for senior levels of government to push for more treatment centres to recover from drug use and suicide attempts,” Belanger told reporters.
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According to a government spokesperson, since January 1, 2017, Social Services has staffed 15 critical front line Child and Family Programs positions in the north service area.
The Ministry is now recruiting for 12 additional critical front line positions in this area.
In the meantime officials continue to ensure any caseloads are being covered by other front line staff.
The northern region includes the communities of Prince Albert, Lloydminster, North Battleford, Buffalo Narrows, La Loche, Creighton, Meadow Lake, Melfort, and Nipawin.
Child and Family Programs also partners with 13 First Nations Child and Family Services agencies in the region.