Nunavummiut need to know about suicide prevention strategy: Yvonne Niego
President of Embrace Life Council says new resources will help inform people
The new president of Nunavut's Embrace Life Council says she's heard complaints that some people don't know the territory has a suicide prevention strategy.
The strategy was released in 2010 after two years of joint research done by the council, the RCMP, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Government of Nunavut.
"The partners envision a Nunavut where suicide is denormalized, where the rate of suicide is the same rate for Canada as a whole — or lower," the strategy's report read.
Nunavut has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country. In 2013, 45 Nunavummiut ended their lives, most of whom were young men.
The strategy focuses on the need for a full range of mental health services and community-development activities that promote self-esteem.
Yvonne Niego, who's president of the Embrace Life Council as well as an RCMP officer in Nunavut, says she plans to ramp up communication efforts in order to make the territory's suicide prevention strategy more known.
"For example, the Government of Nunavut has really increased its mental health capacity. We see a lot more resources at the front line," she said. "So now that those resources are in the communities, it's now [a matter of] bringing the issues and the people to those resources."
Niego says it's up to everyone to do their part to prevent suicide.
She says that often means not being afraid to talk about distressing issues.