Top News

Government working on suicide issue in Lab West

MHA Graham Letto
MHA Graham Letto

There have been five suicides in Lab West in the past eight months and that has residents and government concerned.

Graham Letto, MHA for Labrador West, said the situation is ‘disturbing’ and the first step is finding what the root causes are. He said they’ve had a few rough years in Lab West, with the closure of Wabush Mines and the impact on the economy, but it’s never that simple.

“All this has to have an impact on how people feel in the community,” he told TC. “Maybe there’s a number of factors there put together that’s causing this. We have to get to the root cause of this problem. Residents are concerned, so am I. It’s a problem that we don’t normally deal with in Lab West and these past eight months are alarming.”

Letto said he’s been speaking with community leaders, Labrador-Grenfell Health and Health Minister John Haggie and they’re working on getting more resources in place to help those who need it.

“We’re going to try to identify what is actually happening there and make sure we have the adequate resources in place to deal with mental health,” he said. “In the past few years, we’ve had an increase in mental health cases in Labrador West and we’ve been working closely with the mental health department and Labrador Grenfell Health so make sure that they’re being seen within the benchmarks set out by LGH and in most cases, we have. Nevertheless, the latest incidents have brought it to the forefront and maybe we need more resources, obviously.”

In the short term, government is putting more resources in the area, he said. The first step is making sure there are no backlog of mental health cases in the area, in conjunction with making sure there are educational resources to make sure people in the community are aware that the services exist there. They’re also working on getting all the community leaders and government representatives, including Minister Haggie, together in a meeting to discuss the issue and what can be done. Letto said that is in the works and they’re just trying to get schedules together now.

The longer term is a bigger issue, he said, one that will hopefully be addressed by the All-Party Committee on Mental Health and Addictions that was established by the provincial government in January of last year.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “But we’re going to deal with it together, as a community.”

Graham Letto, MHA for Labrador West, said the situation is ‘disturbing’ and the first step is finding what the root causes are. He said they’ve had a few rough years in Lab West, with the closure of Wabush Mines and the impact on the economy, but it’s never that simple.

“All this has to have an impact on how people feel in the community,” he told TC. “Maybe there’s a number of factors there put together that’s causing this. We have to get to the root cause of this problem. Residents are concerned, so am I. It’s a problem that we don’t normally deal with in Lab West and these past eight months are alarming.”

Letto said he’s been speaking with community leaders, Labrador-Grenfell Health and Health Minister John Haggie and they’re working on getting more resources in place to help those who need it.

“We’re going to try to identify what is actually happening there and make sure we have the adequate resources in place to deal with mental health,” he said. “In the past few years, we’ve had an increase in mental health cases in Labrador West and we’ve been working closely with the mental health department and Labrador Grenfell Health so make sure that they’re being seen within the benchmarks set out by LGH and in most cases, we have. Nevertheless, the latest incidents have brought it to the forefront and maybe we need more resources, obviously.”

In the short term, government is putting more resources in the area, he said. The first step is making sure there are no backlog of mental health cases in the area, in conjunction with making sure there are educational resources to make sure people in the community are aware that the services exist there. They’re also working on getting all the community leaders and government representatives, including Minister Haggie, together in a meeting to discuss the issue and what can be done. Letto said that is in the works and they’re just trying to get schedules together now.

The longer term is a bigger issue, he said, one that will hopefully be addressed by the All-Party Committee on Mental Health and Addictions that was established by the provincial government in January of last year.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “But we’re going to deal with it together, as a community.”

Recent Stories