Three 12-year-old girls die in suicide pact as community fears dozens more deaths

A third twelve-year-old girl died this week, reportedly as part of a suicide pact that already took the lives of two preteen girls so far this year.

According to CBC, Jenera Roundsky, 12, was pronounced dead last week after another child found her at a hockey rink in remote northern Ontario, Canada.

In January, Jolynn Winter (left photo) and Chantel Fox (right photo, standing left of her twin sister), two girls who were also members of the indigenous community Wakapeda First Nation, died of apparent suicides. In one of those cases, the already-suicidal 12-year-old girl received messages on Facebook telling her she was ‘worthless’ and that she she should kill herself.

According to APTN News, Roundsky had been in treatment at a mental health facility following the deaths of her two friends, as she was considered high-risk for suicide herself.

Wapekeka spokesperson Joshua Frogg told APTN that Roundsky was released two weeks ago, against the opinion of her personal psychiatrist.

Roundsky’s exact cause of death is not yet known, but APTN reports that she had suffered “serious trauma” when she was found.

Her father reportedly killed himself in 2011.

A year ago, Wakapeda First Nation appealed to a Canadian healthcare funding program for resources to help them manage the mental health crisis. While Health Canada initially denied the proposal for funding to create a suicide prevention program, it has since pledged $380,000 — but the money has not arrived.

“It’s already June. We’re stressed to our bones to try to help our people here, help our children,” Frogg told APTN.

The Star reports that Wakapeda First Nation has declared a state of emergency, with an estimated 35 children or teens reportedly in a mental health crisis.

There are approximately 400 people in Wakapeda First Nation, so the number of youth in crisis “is a very high number for a small community like ours,” Frogg told The Star.

CBC reports that Roundsky was memorialized during a national assembly of chiefs in Ontario, where Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler gave a speech addressing the crisis.

“We stay up late at night worrying about our children. Many of us are not in a position, because there are no adequate resources or capacity in our communities, to put in a plan that is more long term.”

“We are so programmed to always be in this crisis state and that shouldn’t be,” Fiddler said.


Feature photo: Family handouts