Posted: Jan 16, 2014 11:54 AM CT Last Updated: Jan 17, 2014 9:15 AM CT
Nunavut’s chief coroner is calling a special inquest into the high rates of suicide in the territory.
In an interview with CBC on Thursday, Padma Suramala said she’ll hold a “discretionary inquest” into three suicides, selected at random, under the authority of Sec. 21 of the Coroner’s Act.
Last year, 45 people in Nunavut took their own lives, the highest level of suicides ever recorded in the territory. Nunavut has had a suicide crisis since becoming a territory in 1999.
In 2013, 10 people took their lives in the capital of Iqaluit, which has a population of less than 7,000.
There have now been 434 suicides in the territory since 1999: mostly male, mostly Inuit, mostly young.
Jessie! Great to see you doing well – you are missed here in Iqaluit.
On another note, one of the worst patterns I see up here is that suicide has become “normalized”. Young people seem to consider it to be a viable option to get out of a bad situation. So many people have family, friends or just people they know commit suicide, that it no longer shocks except in the most extreme cases. Young Inuit need hope, they need to get out of isolated communities and take their place in Canada and the world. They need access to high quality mental health care, but also to healthy food, fun activities, and jobs.
I really hope that this creates a sense of emergency – something that has been missing from the trite rhetoric used by all governments. Young people in Nunavut need care and attention now!