Media Centre

NTI supports launch of “World Suicide Prevention Day’

NR 03-16 DAY ENG Suicide Day.doc

(SEPTEMBER 10, 2003 – Pond Inlet, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated today offered its support to the organizers of the first-ever “World Suicide Prevention Day.’ The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in conjunction with the World Health Organization, have designated September 10 as a way of focusing world-wide attention on the problem of suicide.

NTI is committed to becoming actively involved in social issues, said NTI President Cathy Towtongie, who is also responsible for social development issues. NTI was a key funder of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention Annual Conference held in Iqaluit earlier this year. Lending our support to “World Suicide Prevention Day’ is another way of helping draw positive energy to this tragic problem facing us all in the north.

The IASP is dedicated to preventing suicidal behaviour, to alleviate its effects, and to provide a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors. The World Health Organization launched a global suicide prevention initiative in 1999, with the goal of increasing awareness about suicidal behaviours and how to effectively prevent them, at both a policy and personal level.

NTI believes that decision-makers have been quiet too long about this issue, said Towtongie. We are trying to change that. Earlier this year we developed and distributed three videos of training workshops on Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Post-vention that were distributed in conjunction with the CASP conference and to community social workers. We also provided funding to the Regional Inuit Associations so they can bring a representative to the CASP conference from each community.

According to the IASP, suicide is the thirteenth most common cause of death world-wide, the fourth most common among those aged 15-44 and the sixth most common cause of ill-health and disability. Suicide rates in Nunavut are much higher than the Canadian average.

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For further information:

International Association for Suicide Prevention:
World Health Organization:

Pat Angnakak
Director of Social & Cultural Development
Tel: (867) 975-4900
Fax: (867) 975-4949 Lucy Manniapik
Executive Liaison