Nunavut, Nunavik health agencies mark Mental Health Week
“Be patient with yourself and others and reach out for help”
Health agencies in Nunavut and Nunavik are marking Mental Health Week, which runs from Monday, May 7, to Sunday, May 13, by urging people to connect with each other and with the land.
“Be patient with yourself and others and reach out for help when you are going through a hard time,” the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health said in a public service announcement.
“Nurture your mental health by focusing on your strengths and accomplishments and practising positive ways to cope with pain.”
The 2007-08 Inuit Health Survey revealed staggering levels of mental distress among Nunavut Inuit.
More than half of all Inuit women and 22 per cent of men who responded to the survey said they suffered “severe” sexual abuse as children.
In addition, about half of all respondents said they had suffered from some form of physical violence as adults.
And 14 per cent of respondents said they had thought seriously about suicide during the 12 months prior to the questionnaire.
Just recently, at the end of March in Clyde River, Nunavut RCMP members came face-to-face with a potentially lethal example of what mental distress can lead to, when a distraught man barricaded himself into a house and posted a live video on Facebook while brandishing a knife.
GN health officials remind people that it’s “OK” to talk about mental health and seek treatment for a mental illness.
“If you or someone you know needs support, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, counsellor or elder,” the GN said.
In Nunavik, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services is holding a photo contest.
“Nunavimmiut are invited to show through photographs how they nurture their mind, body and spirit and how they maintain relations,” the Nunavik board said in a release.
You can find more information on the health board’s photo contest on their Facebook page.
The first prize is an ice auger and the second and third prize winners will get fishing rods.
“The theme of fishing, which is close to the heart of Nunavimmiut, plays a great role in this campaign,” the release said.
As part of that theme, you can get a free fishing lure from a local community liaison worker or community nurse, the Nunavik board said.