September 9, 2022 –Ottawa, Ontario – Today, the National Inuit Youth Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami are gathering on Parliament Hill to celebrate life and Inuit resilience for World Suicide Prevention Day. Observed annually on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day is a day for Inuit to unite through our losses and through our determination to create healthier, happier communities throughout Inuit Nunangat.
Depending on the region, Inuit experience rates of suicide between five to 25 times higher than the national average. This is due in part to the rapid socialization of Inuit Nunangat, colonialism, racism, the residential school system and intergenerational trauma.
As a result, Inuit – particularly Inuit youth – face a heightened risk. The National Inuit Youth Council has made mental health and suicide prevention one of its priorities, calling for a national response and increased support for Inuit communities so they can deliver Inuit-led solutions to mitigate the risk of suicide.
“Most Inuit have had close exposure to suicide over their lifetime, and that puts us at even higher risk,” said NIYC President Brian Pottle. “Let’s continue to work to create better supports for our family and friends so that we all have the tools we need to live happy and healthy lives.”
To help guide this work, in 2016 Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami launched the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, an Inuit-specific strategy intended to address the persistent public health crisis of suicide among Inuit.
The aim of the strategy is to ensure access to a continuum of mental wellness services for Inuit, heal unresolved trauma and grief, and mobilize Inuit knowledge for resilience and suicide prevention.
If you are thinking about suicide and need support, please call the Hope for Wellness helpline at 1-855-242-3310. Youth in need of support can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868.