A suicide is a dramatic event that affects the lives of individuals, families and communities. Certain communities of Northern Canada have been highly affected by suicide and traumatic deaths. These communities struggle with the grief and trauma related to loss. They also struggle with the fear related to the potential of losing more friends and family to suicide. Suicide prevention has become a top priority for organisations and communities. Many actions are being taken to support communities.
BUILDING ON PARTNERSHIPS
There has been a plethora of research on this topic yet very little work conducted in northern Canada. Supported by a CIHR grant (PI: Laurence Kirmayer) various regional partners came together to see what is being done in Nunavut and Nunavik, how research can help and what the limitations of research are.
As a research team here are the main points that we took out of this exchange:
Communities have many strengths and resources. At the current time they are focussing efforts on community mobilisation around suicide prevention and wellbeing. Implementing new programs that were made from out of communities is not a current priority
There is a desire to have a return of results of research that has been conducted in communities in order to use this information in community mobilisation - build on existing research. The Pc-Cares in Alaska model is a good example of how research results can be used to support mobilisation .
In order to support this community mobilisation and capacity building there is an interest in reinforcing communication and exchanges between Inuit regions to learn from each other and support each other in their initiatives.
There is an expressed need to develop evaluation criteria and protocols based on Inuit values that will allow communities and regions assess the process and outcomes of different initiatives to ensure they are being supported, and to convince funders of the interest in funding initiatives that seem promising.
The team was composed of researchers, a research coordinator, representatives of different governmental institutions of Nunavik and Nunavut including both Inuit and non-Inuit actors, as well as a representative of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). The government of Nunavut (GN) and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) represented Nunavut suicide prevention. Embrace Life Council (ELC) and the Red Cross were both invited to partner in the project due to their field work in Nunavut.
In Nunavik, five individuals working for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) participated in the project including the director of mental health services, a suicide prevention agent, the community suicide prevention liaison worker, the director of wellness workers and ?
Finally, a representative of the Sherbrooke CLSC who had been working with the Nunavik team on suicide prevention community mobilization and adaptation of best practices was invited on the team. At different moments of the project, depending on each organization’s operations and availabilities, partners were more or less heavily involved.
Inuit suicide prevention
We created working documents that can be adapted to other community contexts. Please be reminded that these are not peer-reviewed and must be used only as a starting point for reflection.