09/28/2015 03:46 EDT | Updated 09/28/2016 05:12 EDT

Nunavut Coroner Agrees Suicide Should Be Declared Public Health Emergency

The territory's suicide rate is 13.5 times the national average.

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut's coroner agrees with the verdict of a fatality inquiry jury that suicide should be declared a public health emergency in the territory.

Padma Suramala says that might break the logjam in the territory's inability to implement major parts of Nunavut's suicide prevention strategy.

She says calling Nunavut's high rates of suicide an emergency might also give the territory access to badly needed federal funds.

The jury's verdict was released on the weekend.

Suramala called the inquiry in 2014 after 45 people — including an 11-year-old — killed themselves the previous year.

The numbers brought the territory's suicide rate to 13 1/2 times the national average.


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