July 27, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today marks the sixth anniversary of the release of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy (NISPS). The NISPS is designed to coordinate suicide prevention efforts at the national, regional, and community levels. The Strategy integrates and provides support for existing community and regional efforts to prevent suicide.
“Suicide impacts every person across Inuit Nunangat. Solutions are complex but achievable. We must provide our people who are struggling—especially our young people—with the support they need to be strong and resilient throughout their lives. Suicide prevention remains a top priority for ITK, and the NISPS continues to provide an evidence-based approach that guides and informs all of the work undertaken,” said ITK President Natan Obed.
The effectiveness of the NISPS highlights the important interplay between risk and protective factors. The Strategy’s implementation is guided by the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy Working Group. It has not only been used to develop regional suicide prevention strategies and programs, secure resources for housing and inform policy and legislation, it has also supported region-specific activities that emphasize strengthening families, building social equity, and supporting cultural equity. These components have been key to building resilience amongst Inuit and also in promoting healing to overcome decades of intergenerational trauma and discrimination.
To mark the anniversary, ITK is releasing a comprehensive toolkit called Getting Started with Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL). The tool kit is a deliverable under the NISPS Priority Area 6: Mobilize Inuit Knowledge for Resilience and Suicide Prevention, and is intended to contribute to Inuit self-determination.
As Inuit gain increased self-determination in program design and delivery, it is equally important that we determine how those programs are monitored and evaluated. This tool kit is intended to serve that higher purpose so that promising programs across Inuit Nunangat can be evaluated and contribute to knowledge and best practices in suicide prevention. The more Inuit take charge of monitoring and evaluation activities, the more monitoring and evaluation will serve our interests across Inuit Nunangat.
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- The National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy (NISPS) sets out a series of actions and interventions to address the high rates of suicide among Inuit. The Strategy promotes a shared understanding of the context, and underlying risk and protective factors, for suicide in Inuit communities, and guides policy at the regional and national levels on evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention.
- The four Inuit regions in Canada (Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik in Northern Quebec, and Nunatsiavut in Northern Labrador), collectively known as Inuit Nunangat, have rates of suicide that range from five to 25 times the rate of suicide for Canada as a whole.
- In 2016, the Government of Canada invested $9 million in the NISPS over a three-year period. The 2019 federal budget provided a $50 million investment over 10 years, with an additional $5 million per year ongoing to support the implementation of the NISPS. In December 2019, the ITK Board of Directors passed a resolution allocating funding to ITK and the four Inuit Land Claim Organizations for implementation of the NISPS.