3 suicides in Maskwacis, Alta., in a week prompt calls for hotline
Central Alberta community, once known as Hobbema, reeling over deaths
CBC News, March 13, 2014
Some members of the First Nation community of Maskwacis say they will push for 24-hour suicide hotline following the suicides of three women last week.
“We’ve buried a lot of people,” said Samson Cree band councillor Kirk Buffalo. “A phone call or a program made available — I think that’s a step that we will take.
”Whatever it takes, I will introduce it. I’m tired of burying people.”
Maskwacis, formerly known as Hobbema, is a community of four First Nations in central Alberta, a community plagued by addiction and violence.
Resident Theresia Boysis is writing a proposal for the hotline.
She knows the sense of hopelessness and despair that leads to thoughts of suicide.
After a series of bad, sometimes abusive relationships, Boysis attempted to take her own life five times before she managed to turn things around.
“I thought, I’m all alone, my children are all taken away, so what’s the sense in living,” she said. “I must have taken I don’t know how many pills along with alcohol. They said I died … I OD’d.”
She would also like to see a healing centre built in the community, which would be staffed by people like her, long-time residents who know the community and its problems.
“I’d hold their hand and I’d make sure I’m with them all the time,” she said.
The hotline idea is also supported by local RCMP.
Having three suicides in the community in just one week shows how alarmingly high the rate is, said Insp. Charles Wood.
He plans to speak to the recently elected council members about the risk of suicide and what can be done to reduce the number of people dying at their own hand.