Arnârak teaches survivors across Greenland to fight suicide

Kornelia Rungholm from Qaqortoq is one of more than 500 people who have attended researcher Arnârak Patricia Bloch’s suicide prevention courses. Now she is helping locals through chat rooms and conversations when it gets late and dark outside.


By Ole Ellekrog


Tasiilaq, Qaqortoq, Aapilattoq, Tasiusaq and Ilulissat. Arnârak Patricia Bloch can show pictures of proud course participants from several cities and settlements. In recent years, she has traveled up and down the coasts of Greenland to teach how to prevent suicide. More than 500 people have attended her courses.


Normally, researchers don’t spend that much energy traveling around talking about their research. But for Arnârak, who researches suicide prevention at the University of Southern Denmark’s Centre for Public Health in Greenland, it is more than usually important that the knowledge she finds in her research is also shared among the population.


Because Arnârak’s research can save lives.


“I am researching how people who have previously attempted suicide and have had suicidal thoughts have rediscovered their will to live, and what made them choose life,” says Arnârak.


Swipe right below to see some of all the proud participants from across Greenland who’ve completed Arnârak’s suicide prevention course.

In her research into suicide prevention, Arnârak has focused especially on Greenlanders and other Arctic people. One of the conclusions has therefore been that what works in Denmark and other European countries does not necessarily work in Greenland. That message is important to spread in Greenland.


Kornelia uses the course as a prevention consultant

Among the participants in Arnârak’s courses is Kornelia Rungholm from Qaqortoq in South Greenland. She has had several close relatives who have committed suicide, so the course has helped her a lot. Before, she didn’t have much knowledge about how to deal with suicidal people.


“This work is very important to me because I have felt powerless. When I think of those who have left us, I feel that I want tools to help. Especially because I have felt regret and longing for many years,” she says.


Today, Kornelia Rungholm works as a prevention consultant in the Municipality of Kujalleq. Here she uses the knowledge she gained from Arnârak’s course.


Watch the video above and hear more about Arnârak’s visit to Qaqortoq. You can also read more about her research project here.


Help is close – even after closing hours

“When our fellow human beings feel that they are not feeling well in their daily lives, or are constantly sad, then they start to feel inadequate. They feel that nothing is working out and that they can’t even talk about the things they are ashamed of. And at the same time, they don’t feel that they have any choice but to pretend as if they are doing well,” says Kornelia Rungholm.


According to Kornelia Rungholm – and Arnârak Patricia Bloch – it is important to have someone to talk to when gloomy thoughts arise. You must be able to talk about them in a safe way without feeling ashamed.


Watch Arnârak’s advice for anyone struggling with suicide below.

You can do that when you turn to the chat room that Kornelia has started. Citizens with suicidal thoughts can seek help here. Also in the evening, when darkness can make life feel more difficult than usual.


If you have suicidal thoughts, you can also contact your doctor or the hospital. You can also call Tussannga on 80 11 80. It’s anonymous and free, and you can call even if you’ve run out of credit on your phone plan.