Date: April 21, 2024
It is with great sadness that NCN has lost another community member to suicide in a short period. Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with the families, friends, and community in this time of significant and tragic loss.
In these times of crisis, it is natural to feel strong emotions and feelings that are difficult to cope with.
Some may feel they have nowhere to turn or no one to talk to. Times of crisis can bring on intense feelings that some people may not know how to cope with.
They may feel that they have no one to turn to. Some people may even be thinking about taking their own lives.
Speaking with family and friends or talking with a trusted mental health professional will help people cope with these feelings and also feelings associated with grief and loss. The important thing is finding someone willing to listen in a kind, respectful, and non-judgemental way.
Here are some tips to help you identify when someone may be suicidal:
***Please note: this information does not replace the services of a qualified mental health professional.
Having a conversation about suicide is not easy.
Here are a few tips:
  • Do not judge: A person thinking about suicide might already have some strong and negative feelings about themselves. Being overly confrontational or judgmental about their thoughts of suicide can make things even more difficult.
  • Listen: It can be hard to know what to say. Sometimes, the most caring thing you can do is let people know they are being heard. This could be as simple as saying, “I hear you,” or “Thank you for sharing with me.”
  • Let them guide the conversation: Remember that your goal is to provide support and keep them safe. Ask questions and let them tell you what help they need.
  • Seek help: Many people are nervous when talking to others about suicide, so it’s important to know that you can seek help. If you’re unsure what to do or nervous, reach out and connect with someone more experienced who can provide assistance.
  • Crisis lines are a good place to start. There are some numbers at the end of this PSA.
  • Be kind: The words that we use when we talk about suicide are not as important as how we talk about suicide. Having difficult conversations with kindness is often enough to get everyone through safely.
A person who is thinking about suicide might:
• Tell you or someone else that they want to die or not be around anymore. If a person shares that they want to die, please take it seriously and provide support.
• Seem more sad, stressed, worried, or angry than usual.
• Suddenly, be happy or content after feeling really sad or stressed. A person who decides to die may feel a sense of relief.
• Start, stop, or change how they use drugs or alcohol.
• Talk a lot about death and dying.
• Start preparing for suicide by gathering up things they want to use to take their lives or start researching suicide.
• Say goodbye to those close to them and give away important personal belongings.
• Talk about feeling like a burden on others or about how alone they feel.
• Talk about feeling trapped or that they have no way out.
• Talk about feeling like there’s no hope or that there’s nothing they can do.
• Have difficulty sleeping, or their sleep schedule might change.
• Do things that are risky and harmful.
If you’re worried that someone you know is thinking of suicide, the most important things you can do are:
• Be open and willing to listen to how they feel.
• Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. If they say yes, much support is available, and many ways exist to help them.
• Be as clear and direct as possible to find out for sure whether the person you are worried about is indeed thinking about suicide. Being direct shows that you are open, and this invites them to talk to you about suicide.
• Please encourage them to seek help by calling a crisis line, connecting with a mental health professional such as a doctor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, counsellor, or Elder, or seeking cultural support.
• Make some of those phone calls and referrals with them if they cannot do it themselves.
If someone is actively trying to harm themselves, call the NCN RCMP at 204-484-2288.
NCN FCWC Counselling on Call: 431-354-1270
Crisis Lines:
988: Suicide Crisis Helpline (24/7)
Phone: 988
Text: 988
Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line (24/7)
Toll-free: 1-877-435-7170
Helpline (toll-free): 1-855-242-3310
Offers immediate mental health counselling
and crisis intervention to all Indigenous people
across Canada.
Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Chat and text support: text “CONNECT” to
Counsellors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
At this difficult and painful time, we all must support one another and unite as a community to keep everyone safe. Our people need to show each other love instead of hate and treat one another with kindness and compassion now, more than ever.
Chief Angela Levasseuur, on behalf of Council
Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation