Shamattawa First Nation is under a declared state of emergency after a single mother died by suicide recently and a young child attempted suicide.

Chief Eric Redhead made the declaration on Tuesday, May 18.

“Today we are announcing a state of emergency in Shamattawa First Nation,” says Chief Redhead in a press release. “We are currently facing a suicide crisis in our community. We are calling for mental wellness supports for our community members at this time.”

He says a seven-year-old child who attempted suicide recently is now in Children's Hospital in Winnipeg and was unresponsive in critical condition.

The single mother was Redhead's sister and only sibling. He says that he's worried about seeing "copycats or a domino effect," which the community often experiences after a suicide.

Shamattawa has asked Health Canada for child and adolescent mental health workers to be flown into the community. A mobile crisis team from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak was arriving in the community on Tuesday.

Speaking to media via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon, Redhead says that the community has seen many suicide attempts in recent months. Combined with several natural deaths, he says staff and health workers in the community are worn out.

Shamattawa is approximately 735 km northeast of Winnipeg.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call the Canadian Suicide Prevention line at 1-833-456-4566.