Getting Started with Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning is a means to achieve self-determination in Inuit program design and evaluation. The more Inuit take charge of monitoring and evaluation activities, the more monitoring and evaluation will serve our interests across Inuit Nunangat.
Social and Economic Inequity
Compared to most other Canadians, Inuit Nunangat experiences many social and economic inequities, such as poverty, less access to quality healthcare, and unemployment. Creating social equity is essential to the prevention of suicide for Inuit in Canada.
1 Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey. (Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada, May 2011)
2 Grace M. Egeland, Inuit Health Survey 2007-2008: Nunavut. (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC: Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment, May 2010), 12.
3 Shirin Roshanafshar and Emma Hawkins, Health at a Glance: Food Insecurity in Canada. (Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada, March 25, 2015).
4 Heather Tait (Analyst/Researcher, Health Canada), e-mail message to author (June 23, 2016), 2010 Median Total Income for the Population Aged 15 and over, 2011 National Household Survey.
5 Canadian Institute for Health Information, Supply, Distribution and Migration of Physicians in Canada, 2014 (Ottawa, ON: Canadian Institute for Health Information, September 2015).
6 Statistics Canada, Table 102-0706: Life Expectancy, at Birth and at Age 65, by Sex, Five-Year Average, Canada and Inuit regions., accessed June 10, 2016. http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&id=1020706
Effective suicide prevention should reduce suicide risk. Risk factors for suicide are experiences, events or conditions that leads to suicidal behaviour. This means that the lives of people who have died by suicide are more likely to share certain characteristics. However, there is no direct path to suicide for individuals, so people who have experienced one or more risk factors are not destined to die by suicide.
Significant social and cultural upheavals in our society, such as colonization, have contributed to the increase in Inuit suicide rates today.
Social inequities translate into stress and adversity for families and can lead to disparities in health status, and increased risk of suicide.
Intergenerational traumatic experiences can contribute to risk for suicide, especially when they lead to depression and substance misuse.
Traumatic Stress and Early Adversity
Childhood adversity, such as extreme poverty, abuse, poor mental health, substance abuse, or neglect, is linked to suicidal behaviour.
Mental distress whether it be depression, substance misuse, mental health disorders or self-harm, are important risk factors for suicide.
Acute Stress or Loss
Stressful life events or loss, coupes with access to lethal means, may play a strong role in suicidal behaviour.
How Risk Multiplies In Our Societies
Suicide risk can multiply throughout a person’s lifetime. Individually we may face certain types of adversity and also be exposed to suicides that creates a base level of suicide risk in our communities.
Some people begin life with adversity, such as
being affected by acute stress while in the womb.
This base level of risk can multiply through stress factors related to social inequity, such as poverty and poor education.
Personal experiences, including physical or sexual abuse, can further multiply a person’s overall risk for suicide.
Exposure to suicide is a risk factor for suicide. Knowing people who have died by suicide can add to a person’s overall risk for suicide.
Having high rates of suicide in our communities means that suicide touches every community member, creating an underlying risk for suicide that affects all inuit.
As a result, many Inuit face individual risk factors for suicide in addition to being at risk by living in a high suicide society.
People who experience stressful life situations react differently depending on their coping skills and the support and help they receive from their family and community. Protective factors are experiences, behaviours, or an inherited characteristic. They can support positive outcomes for people who experience stressful events and challenging difficulties in their lives, acting as a buffer against suicide.
Instilling a strong and grounded sense of Inuit culture, history, and language through networks of support can reduce the risk of suicide.
Providing a safe, nurturing, and predictable environment for children is one of the most significant factors to protect against suicide risk.
Accessible, Inuit-specific mental health services that provide support and identify individual needs can help address suicide before risks multiply.
Coping With Acute Stress
Providing individuals with access to social supports and resources that help them regulate and cope with distress helps protect against suicide.
Providing children with safe environments that nurture social and emotional development will protect against other adversities.
Reducing Suicide Among Inuit
Suicide prevention among Inuit communities requires a shared national, regional and community-wide response. Evidence shows that taking a holistic approach that reduces suicide risk, while increasing protective factors is an effective way to prevent suicide.
Create Social Equity.
Suicide is an expression of wider social and health disparities. Addressing social inequity through the social determinants of health, including
early childhood development, income distribution, housing and others, will address the underlying causes of suicide.
Create Cultural Continuity.
The strength and vibrancy of our language and culture is a cornerstone of Inuit well-being, yet many Inuit do not have access to this source of strength, even when they are in crisis and need support. Being able to access our rich heritage, including culturally safe services and care is imperative for suicide prevention.
Nurture Healthy Inuit Children.
Children who grow up in safe, nurturing and predictable environments have a foundation for healthy lifelong growth and development and are more likely to live healthier, happier lives with a reduced risk for suicide. Investing in the safety and wellness of children is the most impactful way to prevent suicide.
Increase Access To Mental Wellness Services.
Many gaps exist in critical, culturally-relevant services that support mental wellness among Inuit. A continuum of mental wellness services is needed to ensure Inuit impacted by trauma and adversity are provided with the proper supports.
Educate and Heal Unresolved Trauma And Grief.
Unresolved trauma and grief can create lasting distress and contribute to suicide risk. To reduce suicide, it is necessary to address unresolved trauma and grief, including the impacts of historical trauma stemming from colonization and rapid social change.
Mobilize Inuit Knowledge.
Inuit knowledge is a source of strength that can build resilience and contribute to suicide prevention. Inuit regions, communities and local organizations must lead the development and implementation of suicide prevention initiatives.
Risk factors increase a person’s chance of illness or death. They can come from the environment, an experience, a behaviour, something inherited, or an unknown cause.
Protective factors decrease a person’s chances of illness or death. Protective factors can come from the environment, an experience, a behaviour, an inherited characteristic, or an unknown cause.
Promising Practices in Suicide Prevention Across Inuit Nunangat: NISPS Research and Data Collection Project
This report presents findings from an environmental scan that was undertaken to gather information around the following six topic areas.
This map aims to increase the information available on community-based initiatives that play an important role in reducing and preventing suicides in Canadian Inuit communities. By exploring the interactive map and resources, you will to learn more about these initiatives and the current public health crisis being faced by Canada’s Inuit population.
The funds were used in a variety of ways to meet the objectives set: Student and Family Support Worker (SFSW)...
The funds were used in three ways: Parenting to the Moon and Back; ASIST Trainer Development Program; and, Community Initiatives...
Nunavik Land-Based Healing Program (NUNAMI)
Between 2016 and 2019, the structure that the program would take was worked on, and two resource staff were subsequently...
Sexual Violence Prevention/ Outreach
The Sexual Violence and Outreach project has completed work in two major domains: the development and facilitation of workshops and...
Nain Youth Centre
The Youth Center has offered activities of: Providing a safe, supportive drop-in space in the evenings for all youth (13-30)...
Building Capacity to Address and Prevent Childhood...
The project sought to improve service delivery practices to reduce problematic substance use among Nunatsiavut’s parents/guardians through a systemic review...
Nunavik sexual abuse intervention flying team proj...
A fly-in treatment team is proposed as a way of bringing experienced sexual abuse counselling services to the population of...
Expanding the evidence-based Inunnguiniq Childrear...
The Inunnguiniq Parenting/Childrearing Program is the only evidence-based program in Nunavut that is founded in Inuit values and philosophy related...
Our Life’s Journey
This project delivered Modules 1, 2, and 3 of Our Life’s Journey (OLJ): the Inuit Counsellors’ Training and Mentorship Program...
Reclaiming the Whole Man
Reclaiming the Whole Man is an Inuit-led initiative by the Pirurvik Centre to strengthen the resilience and wellbeing of Inuit...
Tel: 1 (877) 686-2845
If you live in Nunavik, you can contact your Community CLSC: 819-XXX-9090 in Inuktitut, English and French. Traditional Health Support workers are available from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can speak to someone in Inuktitut or English by calling 1 (877) 686-2845.
Hope for Wellness Line
The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Phone and chat counselling is available in English and French. On request, phone counselling is also available in Inuktitut.
Social Determinants of Inuit Health
The circumstances in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, are known as the social determinants of health. These factors have a large impact on our overall well-being and play a critical role in suicide prevention. Social determinants of health can vary from one culture and society to another. The social determinants of Inuit health include:
Clear evidence links social disadvantage, such as living in poverty and not getting enough to eat, to higher rates of suicide. Addressing these underlying causes of social inequity, are necessary to prevent suicide and will also improve many other areas of Inuit life.