October 6, 2022 — Ottawa, Ontario
As we approach World Mental Health Day, the Government of Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) are announcing $11 million in new supports to help strengthen the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. This funding comes from Budget 2022 measures and builds on previous investments in Budget 2019.
Launched by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) in 2016, the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy is an Inuit-led, evidence-based, and globally informed approach to reducing suicide among Inuit in Inuit Nunangat. Its six priority areas for action include: creating social equity, creating cultural continuity, nurturing healthy Inuit children, ensuring access to a continuum of mental wellness services for Inuit, healing unresolved trauma and grief, and mobilizing Inuit knowledge for resilience and suicide prevention.
This new investment announced today will assist the ongoing work of ITK and Inuit Land Claim Organizations, which takes a holistic, Inuit-specific approach to suicide prevention and focuses on systemic changes, early intervention and support, so that individuals are less likely to reach the point where they consider suicide. Funding will help provide greater access to programs and services, build capacity, and support monitoring and evaluation.
For those in need, the Hope for Wellness Helpline provides immediate, culturally safe, telephone crisis intervention support for all Indigenous Peoples in Canada, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (1-855-242-3310 or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca) in English and French, and upon request in Inuktitut, Cree and Ojibway. Youth in need of support can also call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or text 686868.
“For too long, programs to prevent suicide were designed in a manner that did not reflect the people they were meant to help. The Inuit-specific, designed and led National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy is changing all of that. Indigenous Services Canada will invest $11 million more towards the work of the strategy so that more Inuit can get access to these life-promoting programs and services. By investing in building capacity in organizations and community, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) will be able to continue evolving the strategy to give even more Inuit the support they need to stay with their families and communities.
The strategy is important, and so are the other ways the Government of Canada is working with ITK to address the foundations of healthy people and communities. We must continue to invest in better housing, education, food security, and health care access, and work even harder to end systemic discrimination and racism—by-products of the violence of colonization. I commend ITK’s tireless advocacy for Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, and their leadership on life promotion and equity.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
“The tragedy of suicide in Inuit communities is one that we, as Inuit, face every single day. This new investment will help us continue to address the ongoing crisis and build our own capacity to create healthier, more resilient communities. Suicide prevention remains a top priority for ITK, and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy continues to provide an evidence-based approach that guides the work we do.”
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President
- In 2016, the Government of Canada invested $9 million over three years to support the implementation of the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. Subsequently in 2019, an additional investment of $50 million over 10 years was made, with $5 million per year ongoing.
- Indigenous Services Canada works closely with Indigenous partners and is guided by key documents that were developed by Indigenous partners, namely the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, Honouring Our Strengths and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. These three documents outline a holistic approach to mental wellness that is grounded in culture and Indigenous-specific determinants of health.
- To address the high rates of suicide that are happening in some Indigenous communities, the Government of Canada is supporting a variety of initiatives specific to life promotion and suicide prevention, including the Hope for Wellness Helpline, the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, and the Youth Hope Fund. The Hope for Wellness Helpline provides immediate, culturally safe, telephone crisis intervention for all Indigenous Peoples in Canada, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (1-855-242-3310, or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca) in English and French, and upon request in Inuktitut, Cree and Ojibway.