Nunavut MLAs approve $4.5M for 1-year suicide prevention action plan
$1.1 million will fund the Quality of Life Secretariat
The Nunavut government's contribution to a one-year suicide prevention action plan now has a price tag: $4.5 million.
Approving funding through a supplementary appropriation bill is a routine procedure, but in this case, it is a step critics of the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy are likely happy to see. During last fall's coroner's inquest on the territory's high rate of suicide, two witnesses testified part of the strategy's failings were due to a lack of funding.
The action plan, titled Resiliency Within, was unveiled in March during the legislature's winter sitting. It incorporates recommendations from the inquest. The plan is a partnership between the Nunavut government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the RCMP and the Embrace Life Council.
South Baffin MLA David Joanasie thanked Finance Minister Keith Peterson and his officials, including Karen Kabloona, the associate deputy minister of health who oversees the Quality of Life Secretariat, for their presentation to the committee.
"We want our youth to have a better future," said Joanasie in Inuktitut.
"Those people who go through hardship, they don't need to experience it."
The funding is split between three departments, with Health receiving $3.9 million, Education $200,000 and Family Services $419,000
Some highlights include $1.1 million for the Quality of Life Secretariat, an interdepartmental Nunavut government committee for suicide prevention; $386,000 is available for the mobile trauma response team to travel to communities to provide counselling and healing and $270,000 is earmarked for mental health in corrections.
"That would be for the Department of Health to base a registered mental health nurse in Makigiarvik to support the other correctional facilities in Nunavut," said Peterson.