Nadine Eetuk and Kupapik Ningeocheak were up until the wee hours of the morning fielding calls to Coral Harbour’s radio show after a week of suicide prevention activities in the community.
“Everybody was so thankful for us that we held this suicide prevention,” said Eetuk about the community’s three days of activities from March 8 to 10.
“People were telling us that they understood more how to cope with their hardship. It turned out really great.”
The week began with speeches from the hamlet and local church leaders, moving into a suicide prevention walk through town, which saw 150 to 200 people take part.
Participants had a hot-dog feast afterward, followed by the first edition of nightly radio shows on the topic of suicide prevention, this one being about intervention.
“It was hard, emotional,” said Eetuk.
On the second day, community members learned how to build iglus from three instructors, and the night’s call-in show focused on encouragement to youth and young adults.
The last day, participants gathered at the iglus, with youth at the youth centre, and Elders passed on their wisdom to younger people about dealing with difficult times.
“Even adults came to go listen to the Elders,” said Eetuk. “The Elders had very good words for people. It was helpful for everybody.”
On the radio, a mother who lost her child to suicide opened up about her story, explaining how it felt and how she dealt with the sudden blow.
“While she was on air, a lot of people were calling to the off-air radio saying thank you to us, and thank you to that person,” said Eetuk.
“Even little children were calling the radio to say thank you, that they understand more how to cope with hardship.”
The last radio show lasted until 1:30 a.m., with Eetuk and Ningeocheak ready to pass out from the busy and emotional week.
“There were a few people who called and told Kupapik they were thinking to do this or do that, but they changed their mind,” said Eetuk, saying people learned suicide is not the answer to problems in their lives.
For Eetuk, the topic hit close to home.
“It was emotional for us, especially myself, because I lost my cousin before due to suicide.”
It was her aunt’s son, and Eetuk still finds it hard to think about at times.
“I still think about him because we were so close as family,” she said.
“It’s not that easy to let him go. I still often think about him, wonder how he would be if he was alive. All these thoughts come to my mind.”
Suicide touches everyone, she added, not just immediate family members.
She was grateful for the week of activities and community connections.
“If a person is having a hard time, please do not end your life to suicide,” she said.
“Seek for help from people who you trust, and people will definitely help you, because it’s no fun losing a loved one due to suicide. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family or non-family member. Sometimes we think that suicide is the answer, but it is not. Please seek for help when you go through your hardships.”