The jury at a coroner's inquest into Nunavut's high rate of suicide is urging the territorial government to declare suicide a public health emergency. 

That recommendation tops the list of 41 steps it says the Government of Nunavut needs to take to tackle the crisis.

The jury also called for the creation of a cabinet position responsible for suicide during the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

Other recommendations include:

  • changes to the Mental Health Act to allow hospital personnel to inform family members if a person has attempted suicide, regardless of the person's age,
  • programs to teach coping skills in the territory's schools,
  • mandatory cultural awareness training for RCMP and healthcare workers who come to Nunavut,
  • that the federal government create a national suicide prevention strategy by 2017,
  • that territorial departments and agencies do a better job sharing information,
  • suicide intervention training for local housing organizations.

The recommendations also call on the territorial government to implement several recommendations from the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In addition, the jury is urging the government to create public awareness campaigns focused on "de-normalizing" suicide and discouraging alcohol and marijuana use among young people.

The jury wants the government to open substance abuse treatment centres in each of Nunavut's three regions by 2018. It further calls on the federal and territorial governments to fund all of these initiatives adequately.