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Jack Frimeth paddling whitewater on the Seal River in Manitoba. In July, Frimeth will paddle down the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories to raise money for prevention in Fort Simpson. The community suffered four suicides in early 2017. (Submitted by Jack Frimeth) A high school teacher from Ontario plans to paddle solo down the Nahanni River this summer in an effort to raise money for suicide prevention in Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

The village suffered four suicides earlier this year. It’s home to about 1,200 people.

Jack Frimeth is no stranger to the North or raising money for a good cause. He has already paddled the Mountain River in the Mackenzie Mountains north of Norman Wells, and the Mara and Burnside Rivers in Nunavut.

Frimeth said he was planning to donate funds raised to a diabetes program in Fort Simpson though his non-profit organization Paddle Against Diabetes Display Love for Earth, but once he heard about the string of suicides in the community, he said he had to make a change.

"I felt it may be more appropriate and timely to redirect the funds to mental health and local suicide prevention programs," Frimeth said.

"This had a greater sense of urgency." Camping solo on Mountain River, N.W.T. (Submitted by Jack Frimeth) As a high school teacher in Fergus, Ontario, Frimeth said he has worked with exchange students from small rural communities and learning about the suicides in Fort Simpson was difficult to take in.

"It hits rather hard," he said.

"I have dealt with a number of students myself. I realized that mental health is really something that is underfunded, undiagnosed, and a lot of people have slipped through the cracks."Frimeth said he’s raised several hundred dollars so far and has been in touch with Liidlii Ku Gerald Antoine in Fort Simpson. […]

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