Ottawa, ON – July 27, 2017 – One year after Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami launched the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy (NISPS), we continue to work toward fulfilling the actions and interventions it sets out to reduce elevated rates of suicide among Inuit.
“We are working carefully to achieve the best possible long-term outcome for Inuit,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “The success of the NISPS depends on the work we carry out through partnerships with stakeholders at the national, regional, and community levels. We imagine implementation efforts will reach all Inuit through this network of partnerships. In order for our specific interventions to be effective, it will take time, money, and dedication to creating social equity, community safety, and cultural continuity.”
One of the primary outcomes of the past year has been to provide support to Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation and the Nunatsiavut Government to provide enhanced mental health services in their regions that align with the evidence-based objectives set out in the NISPS. Projects include support for youth programs and infrastructure repairs; student and family support workshops; support for an Inuit men’s and Inuit counsellor’s program; sexual violence programming; and, land-based healing programming.
A continuum of mental wellness services is needed to ensure that Inuit who are impacted by trauma and adversity can be identified and provided with the supports they need before risk for suicide multiplies. ITK is coordinating culturally relevant suicide intervention training across Inuit Nunangat through two programs: an expanded version of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Mental Health First Aid-Inuit (MHFA-I), a new Inuit-specific training program jointly developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and ITK.
ITK will evaluate progress in achieving the objectives of the NISPS in two-year increments. The NISPS envisions evaluation as a way of continuing to add to Inuit knowledge in suicide prevention, advancing promising practices, and enabling communities and regions to learn from each other. In evaluation, as in all other research activities related to Inuit wellbeing, efforts should be led by Inuit, and guided by Inuit knowledge and values.