Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut May 27, 2014 - 11:45 am

Counselling bereaved more valuable than suicide prevention

"Huge sums of money are being spent on so-called suicide prevention. It’s not working."


The horrendous number of suicides that have occurred recently in Iqaluit needs to be addressed from a different angle.

Huge sums of money are being spent on so-called suicide prevention. It’s not working.

However the area that needs to be addressed is that of the survivors, the families left behind — those who have suffered the loss of their loved ones, their brothers, moms and dads, and their pals at school.

There is nothing that can be done for the deceased, but those left behind must be provided with sympathy and counselling. They need help to ease them through the terrible agony of losing a child, a friend, a lover.

The department of health has got to establish a team of experts who specialize in this type of healthcare. What is needed is a group of highly trained individuals who act as council to the bereaved.

We know that the effects on individuals who are witness to these terrible deaths are so traumatic that in some cases, this leads to their own suicide.

The recent double suicide in Pond Inlet is a case in point. Two 17-year-olds took their own lives. The effect on the entire community was a catastrophe of huge proportion.

I know that Father Danille of the Catholic Church in Iqaluit rushed to Pond to try to offer his help. The community was badly traumatized. It is these situations that have to be addressed by experts in counselling.

The money spent on suicide prevention would be better invested in helping those left behind.

I suggest that there be established a team on active duty at all times, ready with short notice to offer their support to any community within this territory. They would fly or drive to the place where such tragedies had happened.

I am sure that by offering this service to the bereaved will help stem the tide of death that seems to be sweeping across Nunavut.

Bryan Pearson

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