Suicide Prevention: Current Problems


September 17, 2019

Suicide Prevention Plans

National Paper on Youth Suicide

The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA) published “A National Paper on Youth Suicide” that calls on governments at the national, provincial and territorial levels to take concrete action to prevent youth suicide in Canada. Failure to address the multi-faceted issues impacting indigenous communities has led to a suicide epidemic.

The paper consolidates research by the CCCYA members that led to the identification of three broad findings related to youth suicide:

  • the impact of traumatic childhood experiences,
  • the importance of service integration and
  • continuity and how the voices of children and youth needs to be at the front of change.
    National Paper on Youth Suicide: Calls to Action

Calls to Action

  1. The Government of Canada develop and implement a fully resourced National Suicide Strategy with designated funding to the provinces and territories to create their own, or to support existing strategies where applicable. Whether at the federal, provincial or territorial level, young people must be included in all stages of development and implementation.
  2. The Government of Canada develop and implement a cross-jurisdictional, standardized, data system and to compel provinces in the mandatory reporting of attempted and completed suicide.
  3. The Government of Canada shall engage in meaningful partnerships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities experiencing elevated rates of suicidal behaviour of young people and develop interventions to eliminate these health disparities. This work should draw on the leadership and expertise of Indigenous youth and Elders whenever possible.

January 28, 2021

Suicide Prevention Plans

Resilience in Life

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. – released the “2015-2017 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society entitled Resilience in Life”, which focuses on pathways to reducing suicide in Nunavut. “Some of our youth grow up believing that suicide is part of our culture. It is not. It is a symptom of colonization and on-going social and economic inequities that cause distress among too many Nunavut Inuit. Resilience in Life outlines a path forward to wellness based on Inuit-specific, evidence-based policy approaches”, said Acting President James Eetoolook.

The SICS report recommends that governments aim to create social equity among Nunavut Inuit by implementing Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement to address persistent gaps in areas such as housing, formal education, food security, and health care.

NTI encourages the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada take heed to recommendations in the report. The recommendations will require collaboration, resource sharing and thinking about broad approaches to our shared goal. Colonialism and intergenerational trauma under- pin 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 im- prints on our society. The rapid social and cultural transitions that coincided with these experiences gave rise to social challenges that we now under- stand 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 GN has twice declared suicide a crisis and has yet to fully implement the 2010–2014 Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy Action Plan, the development of which is the most significant suicide prevention action taken to date by the GN.