Why no Iqaluit ASIST workshops this winter?


I am a teacher in a Nunavut community.

Last year I had the opportunity to take the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course. It was thanks to our principal encouraging his teachers to take the training that I was able to do so.

I have not had to use my suicide intervention skills at school yet, but a few weeks ago I found myself in a situation where a member of my family was in deep despair – and at risk of dying by suicide.

Having taken ASIST I knew what to do, and I did it. The intervention went well.

I may have saved a life that day, I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to learn those skills.

I was saddened to hear that at this point there is not a single ASIST workshop scheduled for Iqaluit this entire winter.

The Coalition of Nunavut DEAs passed a motion asking the Department of Education to make ASIST available to all school staff who would like to take it, but that the minister of education rejected their request. Educators are asking why?

On the one hand, the GN boasts in the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy that it will deliver ASIST across the territory “on a consistent and comprehensive basis.” In reality, it is not doing so.

Why not? My personal experience is that ASIST training saves lives.

(Name withheld by request)

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