Editorial: Attawapiskat could use some encouragement

It’s difficult, if indeed possible, to understand the mental state of a person who commits, or attempts to commit, suicide.

There are always so many questions left unanswered.

For the First Nation community of Attawapiskat, the questions are countless.

The northern Ontario town of 2,100 is dealing with a most unusual – and incredibly sad – crisis.

Suicide attempts have been so rampant in the past six months that the community declared a state of emergency April 9.

The crisis began last October, when 13-year-old Sheridan Hookimaw took her own life.

Since then, there have been more than 100 attempts – 11 on April 9 alone. The official count for the month of March was 30.

Nearly half of the attempts have been made by the community’s youth.

Theories as to the root of the crisis are varied, and the different levels of government are working to address the situation.

So what can we do?

Here’s one suggestion, and it costs next to nothing.

A “postcard campaign” has recently been launched, suggesting that anyone who wants to help out could send a postcard, letter or small package to the youth of the community.

It’s a brilliant, simple proposal of an act of kindness. It costs next to nothing, and could have an impact.

No one is insinuating this is a solution to the crisis. We are only suggesting it could help ease the pain the residents of this Canadian community are experiencing.

We, in the Comox Valley, have always been incredibly generous to our own. Now, we are asking to spread that generosity to another community – one that desperately needs help right now.

What a simple, loving project to bestow upon your Grade 1 class.

What a beautiful, meaningful detour on your morning stroll.

A note of encouragement, a few kind words to a stranger, on a postcard from our community.

The address is:

Youth in Attawapiskat

P.O. Box 248

Attawapiskat, ON

P0L 1A0

And if you can’t afford the few dollars it would cost, come to The Record office. We have some spare postcards here. They are already stamped and addressed – all you have to do is personalize one, with your own message.

Your kind words could change a life – maybe even save one.

–Terry Farrell

 

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