ITK to urge action on Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day
Major event scheduled in front of Parliament, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami plans to co-host an event at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa that will feature Inuit leaders and performers.
Among the speakers at the event: Thomas Anguti Johnston, president of National Inuit Youth Council, ITK president Terry Audla, Dammy Damstrom-Albach, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Also scheduled to perform are students from Nunavut Sivuniksavut, children from the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre, throat singers Kendra Tagoona and Becky Mearns, drum dancer Ernie Kadloo and spoken word artist Taqralik Partridge.
The event, around the day’s national theme of “Hope and Resiliency at Home and Work,” takes place between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the front lawn of Parliament Hill at 111 Wellington St..
Nunavut has the highest suicide rate of any territory or province in Canada, with a rate 12 times higher than the national rate.
With 29 suicides to date in Nunavut for the first seven and a half months of 2013, this year could surpass 2003 with the highest number of suicides in a single year since the territory’s creation in 1999.
That number of 29 suicides since Jan. 1, 2013 was confirmed Aug. 15 to Nunatsiaq News by Monita O’Connor, Nunavut’s assistant deputy of health.
Among the most recent suicides: that of an 11-year-old boy in Repulse Bay and of a Pangnirtung girl, 13, followed by the death of her grandmother.
World Suicide Prevention Day, with events organized by the Embrace Life Council, will also be observed in many Nunavut communities.
For those who are in crisis, or who need someone to speak to — every day of the year — there’s Nunavut’s Kamatsiaqtut help line, which staffed by volunteers who nightly receive calls.
The Kamatsiaqtut help line can be reached in Iqaluit at (867) 979-3333 or toll-free at 1(800) 265-3333, from 7 p.m. to midnight.