Mental health in Canada – Can community programs in Arctic Canada make the difference?

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May 1-7 is  Mental Health Week across Canada.

It’s an annual event organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association to help decrease the stigma around mental health and raise awareness about the hurdles people face when trying to get help.

But for many northerners in Canada’s remote Arctic communities, the obstacles to receiving mental health services are multiplied by their isolation and lack of culturally relevant counselling.

As part of Eye on the Arctic’s coverage of Mental Health Week, we’ll be checking in with communities in different parts of northern Canada to find out what’s working, what isn’t, and what the rest of the country needs to know about the challenges faced by northerners.

For today’s instalment, Eye on the Arctic travelled to Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut to prepare this documentary report on the Mianiqsijit project, a program that’s been offering counselling services to the community for almost 30 years.

There, we spoke to everyone from project workers to community members about the challenges many northerners face when seeking counselling or mental health support and how community-based programs can help.

Mental Health Week

For more on Mental Health Week in Canada, check out the website or   on Twitter.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous mental health funding sends important signal says Canadian Inuit leader, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  OECD ‘concerned’ over high suicide rates in Finland, YLE News

Russia:  Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?, Blog by Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Sweden: Gender stereotypes behind high suicide rate, Radio Sweden

United States:  Confronting suicide in Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project.

Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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