‘Everyone is loved’ is Embrace Life Walk’s message
Several dozen Iqalummiut take part in annual suicide prevention walk held Saturday
Joamie Lyta found herself with a decision to make at the end of Saturday’s Embrace Life Walk in Iqaluit — will it be Pond Inlet or Ottawa?
Lyta was the winner of the grand prize draw, a round-trip ticket to anywhere Canadian North flies.
“Now I’m happy. I don’t know where I’m going,” she said after the draw for prizes that was held in Iqaluit Square at the end of the annual walk.
Lyta has a daughter in Pond Inlet she’d like to visit, but she also likes the idea of going to Ottawa for a shopping trip.
“I don’t know which one,” she said with a laugh.
Lyta was one of a few dozen people who took part in the Embrace Life Walk organized by Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit, also known as the Embrace Life Council.
The non-profit organization helps to address the high rates of suicide in Nunavut through Inuit guiding principles, also known as Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.
The walk began at 2 p.m. at the Igluvut building, at Four Corners, home to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s office. Participants walked through the capital city’s core carrying banners, arriving at Iqaluit Square at about 2:30.
They were treated to bannock and tea and performances by two throat singers.
“It’s really to show the community we can support each other. That there’s someone here for you. That everyone is loved,” said Cécile Guerin, Embrace Life Council’s executive director, after the event.
Saturday’s annual walk was held on the last day of National Suicide Prevention Week. World Suicide Prevention Day was observed on Sept. 9.
The Government of Nunavut had reminded Nunavummiut to observe Embrace Life Day and World Suicide Prevention Day across the territory on Sept. 10. The Health Department encouraged people to take time to enjoy activities that support their mental health and wellness, such as going out on the land, engaging in cultural activities like sewing, hunting or crafting, by eating healthy meals, and asking for help when they need it.
The Embrace Life Council’s website includes a list of community and regional contacts for people looking for help with suicide prevention, residential school survivors, family counselling or mental health issues.