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Nunavut coroner's suicide inquest set for Sept. 14

A coroner's inquest into suicide in Nunavut, promised for this winter, will go head this fall now that three families have volunteered to take part.

27 Nunavummiut died by suicide in 2014; 16 have taken their own lives this year

A coroner's inquest into suicide in Nunavut, promised for this winter but delayed, is now set to run from Sept. 14 to Sept. 29 at the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Padma Suramala, Nunavut's chief coroner, called the inquest after a record number of people took their lives in 2013. That year, at least 45 people died by suicide in a territory of only about 36,000.

"The coroner has been struggling to find families that will be agreeable to hold an inquest on suicides," said Paul Okalik, the minister for Health and Justice, in the legislature Friday. "That took a little longer."

Okalik says the inquest could shed light on why so many choose suicide, but only three families have volunteered.

Last year, 27 people in Nunavut took their own lives. So far this year, 16 people have died by suicide.

​Okalik gave the numbers in response to questions from South Baffin MLA David Joanasie.

Joanasie wanted to know how Nunavut is tackling this painful subject.

He asked the government to create more programs to help Nunavummiut develop a healthy self-esteem.

In a news release, the coroner invites anyone who wishes to take part in the inquest to contact her office at 867-975-7292. 

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