The Treaty Three Police Service is focusing on mentoring and helping youth who are experiencing adversity, with a new youth crisis and outreach team. The service has teamed up with the Kenora Chiefs Advisory Mental Health and Addictions Program to launch the Mentor and Helping Kids with Adversity Program, otherwise known as MAHKWA.

Treaty Three says that the MAHKWA Youth Crisis and Outreach team is comprised of a trained Mental Health Worker and a Police Constable to respond to calls as a team, for youth in a ‘self-identified’ crisis. Constable Mitchell Boulette and crisis worker Freedom Bird will work together to resolve crisis calls in communities across northwestern Ontario, and aim to provide ongoing supports following the crisis.

The two will also be providing community outreach activities, including linking in with community programs, services and initiatives. They say that they will focus on a range of topics, including staying safe, decision making, bullying, mental wellness and healthy relationships.

Treaty Three says that the new program acknowledges the over-representation of Indigenous youth in crisis, and will pay attention to understanding complex, inter-generational trauma, and how that impacts on high-risk behaviours in youth. Earlier this year, the Northwestern Health unit estimated that suicide rates in the region are roughly 8 times higher than the provincial rate.

The police services encourages reporting from all levels of the community if there are any concerns, no matter how big or mall they may seem, regarding youth in crisis. The Youth Crisis Team can be contacted by calling the Treaty Three Police Service Headquarters at 1-807-548-5474.

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