Arctic Council looks at measuring success in suicide prevention

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Arctic Council looks at measuring success in suicide prevention

Delegates from the Arctic Council talked suicide prevention in Iqaluit on March 1 and 2.

It was the third and final meeting of the Rising Sun initiative, a follow-on from the mental wellness project completed during Canada's two-year tenure as council chair from 2013 to 2015.

When the U.S. took over the chairmanship, they wanted to keep the momentum on the issue, says Dr. Pamela Collins, the initiative lead.

"Our idea was to think about what are the best ways to come to some consensus on how we can evaluate suicide prevention interventions in the Arctic," she said.

The two-day workshop reviewed communities' understanding of suicide in the Arctic, hearing from researchers, youth and community experts.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed presented takeaways from the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, published last year in Canada.

"We've already tried to incorporate the best practices from other jurisdictions in the work we do here in Canada," he said.

In the last two years, Obed says the the council tried to advance suicide prevention by looking at the challenges of measuring the success of different approaches.

"Suicide prevention is subjective in nature. There aren't universals truths that everyone in the world agrees upon."

A report will be published before the chairmanship of the council transfers from the U.S. to Finland in May.