Aboriginal community in Canada declares emergency as 11 people try to commit suicide in one night

Credit: EBU

An isolated aboriginal community in Canada has declared a state of emergency after 11 people tried to kill themselves on Saturday night.

There have been 101 suicide attempts in the Attawapiskat First Nation, a remote 2,000-strong village near James Bay in northern Ontario, since September.

Twenty eight people tried to kill themselves in March alone.

Residents aged between 11 and 71 have tried to commit suicide, leaders of the community say. One person has died.

Attawapiskat is a tiny and remote community in Northern Ontario Credit: ITV News

They have voted unanimously to declare a state of emergency and told reporters they are in "crisis".

Attawapiskat First Nation chief Bruce Shisheesh believes the suicide attempts are being triggered by issues including overcrowding, bullying, addiction and the impact of residential schools.

Attawapiskat in Canada has declared a state of emergency Credit: EBU

Health Canada has dispatched two mental health counsellors to the village as part of a crisis response unit.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the suicide attempts as "heartbreaking".

Canada's 1.4 million aboriginals make up about 4% of the country's population.

They have higher levels of poverty and a lower life expectancy than other Canadians and are more often victims of violent crime, addiction and incarceration.

Last month another Canadian aboriginal community in the western province of Manitoba appealed for federal aid, citing six suicides in two months and 140 suicide attempts in two weeks.

  • If you are in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90 or visit their website. For those in the Republic of Ireland, the number is 1850 60 90 90.