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'Life After Dark' project collects stories of suicide survivors

Canadian photographer and 'suicide survivor' Suzanne Sagmeister is gathering stories of people in Iqaluit who have either lost a loved one to suicide or attempted suicide themselves.

Canadian photographer Suzanne Sagmeister wants to create a book of personal stories to inspire hope

Suzanne Sagmeister is a Canadian photographer and the founder of Conspiracy of Hope, a suicide awareness organization. She's looking to interview people in Iqaluit who are willing to share personal stories of how suicide has affected them. (Submitted by Suzanne Sagmeister)

Suzanne Sagmeister, a Canadian photographer and suicide awareness advocate, is looking for people in Iqaluit willing to share personal stories of how they've been affected by suicide as part of a project called Life After Dark. 

"I've been affected by suicide my entire life and I, myself, attempted suicide," she says. "We all have a story to share and a story is what's going to connect us."

Sagmeister is travelling across Canada interviewing "suicide survivors": people who have lost loved ones to suicide or attempted to take their own lives.

Once she's done, Sagmeister hopes to create an inspirational book.

"The purpose is to create connection throughout Canada and within each other as humans."

Sagmeister is setting up one-hour interviews with people, which she says will be an informal opportunity for people to share "stories from the heart."

Nunavut 'needs a voice'

The issue of suicide is a personal one to Sagmeister, who says anyone who volunteers to be interviewed will be speaking to someone "who gets it."

"I had to look my son in his eyes and tell him that his dad was gone because he had taken his own life."

Sagmeister says it was important for her to come to Iqaluit because Nunavut "needs a voice."

Over the past 15 years, people in Nunavut have taken their own lives at a rate nearly 10 times the national average. Since 1999, there have been at least 486 suicides in the territory.

"Being able to share our stories is really going to create impact," says Sagmeister.  

To set up a time to meet with Sagmeister this weekend, call her at 780-805-6817 or email her at hope@conspiracyofhope.ca.

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