The Nunatsiavut Government is concerned over media reports suggesting that the recent deaths of three Labrador teenagers represent a “new trend in the North”.
A news release issued today says comments suggesting that the recent deaths were different from those in the past in that the young people came from very stable homes has opened up wounds and undermines work done throughout Labrador in dealing with suicide and mental health.
“People in our communities are grieving and trying to come to terms with the impact of these recent deaths, as well as the deaths of other young people over the years,” said Health and Social Development Minister Patricia Kemuksigak.
“There are many reasons why people take their own lives, including mental health issues such as depression, addiction, relationship breakup, bullying, past abuse, intergenerational trauma, and so on. Many times these deaths cannot be explained and families are left with no real answers.
“Suicides have taken place in many supportive and loving families in the past, so it is very inappropriate to suggest the recent deaths represents a new trend.”
Suicide rates are higher in First Nations and Inuit communities throughout Canada, especially among youth and young men.
Following a high rate of suicide in Labrador in 2000, particularly in the Inuit communities, a number of programs, services and initiatives have been implemented by the Nunatsiavut Government — in collaboration with federal and provincial government departments and agencies, the Innu Nation, and community groups and organizations — in an attempt to deal with the issue.
“There has been a tremendous amount of work done over the years and there are many supports currently in place,” Kemuksigak said. “As a result, we have seen a steady decline in suicide rates and attempts in recent years.”