Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik May 18, 2016 - 8:30 am

Online campaign seeks donations to help prevent youth suicide in Nunavik

Fundraising site sparked by recent deaths in Tasiujaq

A new online fundraising site was sparked by the death of two teens in Tasiujaq, shown here. (FILE PHOTO)
A new online fundraising site was sparked by the death of two teens in Tasiujaq, shown here. (FILE PHOTO)

An online fundraising campaign aims to raise money for teen suicide prevention in Nunavik — another effort to respond to the high number of suicides which Nunavik has seen this past winter and spring, which has prompted Nunavik singer-songwriter Beatrice Deer to call for a “state of emergency.

“Suicide in the North is an ongoing tragedy,” says Gofundme site, which has already topped its initial goal of $2,000, now upped to $3,000.

The numbers of deaths by suicide in the region could surpass those in 1992 when there were 16 suicides in one year in Puvirnituq, whose population was then about 1,000.

Recently two teens from the Ungava Bay community of Tasiujaq died by suicide in the same week.

“We have been affected by these [deaths] too. It’s a small effort and we hope that it can help,” said Matt Schleck, who works in Puvirnituq with the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau’s Pivallianiq program, of the online fundraising campaign which he and his partner set up last week.

With the money they raise, Matt and Melissa Schleck said they want to to send some support north, to combine their efforts with an existing cause, or to help start a new one.

“We’re taking a little time to talk to some people, and [to] find an initaitive that will be most effective to help prevent further suicide in Nunavik, or possibly specifically in Tasiujaq,” they say online.

But this is certain: the money will go to help an “Inuit-helping-Inuit” suicide prevention effort.

You can see their Gofundme fundraising site here.

Nunavimmiut in distress can speak to a health care professional by calling their local CLSC health clinic at -9090.

For residents of Nunavik and Nunavut, support is available in both English and Inuktitut, 24 hours a day, by calling the Kamatsiaqtut help line at 1-800-265-3333.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anywhere in Canada at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English-language support.

And French-speakers can call 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553.)

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