Suicide Prevention: Background Content

Resilience in Life: 2015-17 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society

January 28, 2021

Fed. Govt., NU

Resilience in Life: 2015-2017 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society 2015-16

This report focuses on pathways to reducing suicide among Nunavut Inuit. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the territory and remains the most urgent challenge facing Nunavummiut. It is a symptom of wider social and economic inequities that cause distress among too many Nunavut Inuit. This report provides clarity about the causes of suicide risk and explores solutions for reducing suicide through Inuit-specific, evidence-based policy approaches.

Colonialism and intergenerational trauma underpin the social and economic inequity affecting many Nunavut Inuit. Experiences, such as residential schooling, relocation, dog slaughter, and the loss of loved ones to epidemic diseases, have left deep imprints on our society. The rapid social and cultural transitions that coincided with these experiences gave rise to social challenges that we now understand as suicide risk factors, such as addictions, childhood adversity, and mental illness. These social challenges are compounded by inequities, such as:

  • lack of access to housing and health services,
  • low educational attainment and employment, and
  • food insecurity, that prevent many Inuit from reaching their highest levels of health and wellness.

The suicide rate among Inuit in the eastern Arctic first rose above the national rate for all Canadians in the early 1970s. This generation of Inuit was the first to grow up in settlements, where many people were exposed to a host of risk factors for suicide. Successive generations of Inuit have continued to experience social inequities and their associated challenges because governments have never provided reciprocal investments in social equity or adequate services and supports to meet the needs of Inuit in our own languages.

The Annual Report identifies 17 recommendations fo the Government of Nunavut and 10 for the government of Canada.

Other Background Content By Theme

Suicide Prevention Initiatives

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National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy

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SSH...Listen, We Have Something to Say! Youth Voices from the North

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