A simple text saying goodbye. That was the last anyone heard from 12-year-old Jenera Roundsky, who committed suicide in Wapekeka First Nation in northern Ontario on June 13. Jenera had been part of a suicide pact made by young girls in the community of 400 Oji-Cree, which suffered the suicides of two of Jenera's 12-year-old friends, Jolyn Winter and Chantel Fox, in January, report CBC News and the Toronto Star. Community leaders learned of the pact last summer and had hoped to prevent the loss of life. Jenera, one of 40 young people deemed at risk of suicide in Wapekeka, received specialized care outside of the community, reports APTN. Three weeks after she returned home, she was found dead at an outdoor ice rink by another 12-year-old, prompting Wapekeka to declare a state of emergency Tuesday.
Following the January deaths, Health Canada set aside $380,000 annually to pay for four youth mental health workers in Wapekeka until 2019. But community leaders say the money has yet to arrive and they're still floundering. "We don't have enough personnel to keep watching people on a 24/7 basis that are at high risk. We try, but we just don't have the resources," Wapekeka band manager Joshua Frogg tells the CBC. He hopes the state of emergency will trigger an immediate response. In addition to mental health workers, Frogg says a health and safety plan should be in place for at-risk youth returning to Wapekeka. No such plan was in place for Jenera, he says, adding she was allowed to return home against the advice of a psychiatrist. (The problem isn't limited to Ontario.)