The leaders of a men’s group in Iqaluit say it’s time to break the taboo and start talking about suicide.
Lucassie Ikkidluak started the Anggutiit Ikaugatigiit group in December 2012, as a way to give men a chance to share their feelings and discuss issues.
He doesn’t think people should be silent.
“Talking about suicide won't cause more to commit the act,” Ikkidluak says.
“Actually, keeping silent is not healthy anymore. Talking about it starts the process of healing.”
Ikkidluak says he wants to do more suicide prevention work, after listening to Joanasie Akumalik speak about losing his 24-year-old son to suicide last fall.
Joe Tigullaraq is a member of the men's group in Iqaluit.
He says in the past, Inuit struggled daily to survive with little, and many wonder why there are so many suicides now.
“Inuit used to almost starve, with slow transportation, not much heating, in where they live,” Tigullaraq says. “They tried very hard to survive.”
Former RCMP Sgt. Jimmy Akavak is also a member of the men's group.
Akavak says he's attended many suicides as an officer and says it affects everyone.
He hopes the men's group will help people.
“Being a good father, living a good life, and if anyone has issues to deal with, we work together to help.”
Since 1999, 434 people have taken their lives.
The men say more needs to be done.
“We are concerned,” says Ikkidluak. “That is why we try to help people.”
Helpline is available
Across Nunavut, the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline is open every night from 7-12 p.m. ET at 867-979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333.
The Embrace Life Council also offers resources and guidance for those in distress.