Nunavut releases 1-year action plan on suicide prevention

The Government of Nunavut has laid out what needs to happen over the next year to stop more deaths by suicide.

Outlines plan for better mental health care, more co-operation between agencies

The Government of Nunavut has laid out what needs to happen over the next year to stop more deaths by suicide. 

The one-year Suicide Prevention Strategy Action Plan, called Resiliency Within, incorporates recommendations from the 2015's coroner's inquest on the territory's suicide crisis.

Joanasie Akumalik, who lost a son to suicide in 2013, said he is happy to see something happening in suicide prevention, since it's been six months since the coroner's inquest on the suicide crisis. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

The plan is a partnership between the Nunavut government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the RCMP and the Embrace Life Council.

"Survival was an essential skill taught among Inuit for thousands of years," said NTI vice president James Eetoolook in Inuktitut.

"It was our way of thinking, our way of life. We must reclaim that mindset to thrive and be resilient."

'Us little people should be more involved'

There are eight commitments in the plan including improving mental health services and having government, Inuit and community organizations work together to teach youth to cope with adversity.

Joanasie Akumalik, who lost his son Clyde to suicide in 2013, said he's happy to see something happening, since it's been six months since the inquest. 

"I like it but I think us little people should be more involved or participate [more]," he said. "I know in northern Quebec, they have a big conference on suicide prevention, and I think we should have something like that."

Akumalik might have a chance to have his say this May when a stakeholders summit is held in Iqaluit to work on a long-term plan that would extend for three to five years. 

"We're going to involve all the communities to facilitate the consultations," said Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna. "Of course our partners who are here and we want to ensure that we give our local, smaller communities an opportunity to come up with longer term solutions."

Funding for a committee on quality of life will be debated by MLAs during the spring sitting of the legislature.

The various groups are also in the process of creating a sensitivity training program for all RCMP members stationed in the territory.