11 suicide attempts in weekend at Canadian aboriginal community

TORONTO (AP) – A remote Canadian aboriginal community of 2,000 has declared a state of emergency after 11 people attempted suicide over the weekend.

Christina Lazarova, a spokeswoman for Canada’s health minister, said Monday there were four suicide attempts Friday and seven Saturday in the Ontario community of Attawapiskat. She says there were 26 attempts in March and 86 since September. There has been at least one death.

Mental health nurses and social workers are being flown in. On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the news “heartbreaking” and said the government will work to improve living conditions for all indigenous peoples.

Assembly of First Nations chief Perry Bellegarde says the situation is too common in indigenous communities and that they need a sustained commitment to address long-standing issues that lead to hopelessness.

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