World Suicide Prevention Day a Call to Action for Increased Services, Treatment

September 10, 2014

The National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) are inviting Canadians to celebrate life today, World Suicide Prevention Day, and to recognize that we all have a role in reducing stigma and providing support to those with mental health illnesses.

Inuit youth continue to suffer the highest rate of death by suicide in Canada. Youth under 30 make up 50% of the total Inuit population in Canada, but account for more than 80% of the suicides among Inuit. During the five-year period from 2004-2008, the suicide rate among Inuit youth was 30 times the rate for youth in the rest of Canada.

“Mental Health is NIYC’s top priority, and we are continuously working hard to create awareness and bring in more resources for the programs and services in our communities,” said Thomas Anguti Johnston, President of NIYC and host of an annual Celebrate Life gathering taking place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa this afternoon.

“This is not a medical mystery waiting to be solved. This is a national tragedy that requires political attention at the highest level and immediate investments in housing, education and mental health care services,” said National Inuit Leader Terry Audla, President of ITK, the national voice of Canada’s Inuit.

It is estimated that more than 90% of Canadians who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness. The international theme of World Suicide Prevention Day for 2014 – One World Connected – draws attention to the role that families, friends, neighbours and colleagues play in helping others through times of crisis.

The 8th annual Inuit Celebration of Life event takes place today on Parliament Hill. Inuk singer/songwriter Beatrice Deer will headline the lunchtime event, with additional performances by the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut and the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre, and drum dancer David Serkoak.

Media Enquiries: Patricia D’Souza, Senior Communications Officer
Tel: 613.292.4482    dsouza@itk.ca

NT5

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