October, 2016 (Waterloo, ON): From October 26 -29, almost 600 people will be gathering in Iqaluit, Nunavut for the largest annual conference dedicated solely to suicide prevention in Canada. Hosted by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Help Line, the theme of this year’s conference is Hope, Help and Healing. Each of the conference sessions were solicited and selected based on these three themes.
Appreciating that suicide is the topic, the conference’s overarching goal is to enable participants to explore solutions for embracing life by developing, supporting, sustaining and encouraging positive lifestyles; considering, developing and acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes for better addressing suicide ideation; and networking with participants and presenters towards the cause of suicide reduction and life affirmation. Co-chair of the organizing committee Charlotte Borg goes on to explain, “We all have a role in suicide reduction and life promotion. While successful actions and approaches will sometimes be attributed to, or necessary from an individual or group, no one individual, group or organization can address suicide reduction in isolation. It is a collective issue.”
It is widely recognized that suicide statistics across Nunavut and Nunavik have become the highest in the country. The Premier of Nunavut has declared suicide a ‘territorial crisis’. With the recent suicide inquest in Nunavut, the need for a conference to address suicide was noted as relevant and essential. “This is the third time the CASP conference has been held in northern Canada” President of CASP Renée Ouimet states. “The sheer number of people attending this conference highlights the need for the gathering of suicide prevention professionals in Canada’s most affected area.”
Keynote speakers include ITK president Natan Obed, The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Maatalii Okalik, National Inuit Youth Council President, Carol Todd, Amanda Todd’s mother, and Mental Health Commission of Canada CEO Louise Bradley will be speaking at the Gala.
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