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.
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