Nunavik, Nunavut mark Mental Health Week

“We all need help to heal and we heal better when we heal together”

For Mental Health Week, May 6 to May 12, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services is giving away pins that underline the need to talk, listen and support. (Image courtesy of the NRBHSS)

By Nunatsiaq News

During Mental Health Week May 6 to May 12, the message from the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services is: Wear your pins!

The message of these pins is clear in English, Inuktitut and pictograms. (Image courtesy of the NRBHSS)

“Tell your friends and family that you’ve talked about your mental health, that if necessary you’ll listen to them and that you are there to support them,” the health board said on social media.

The Government of Nunavut has a similar message, to connect with friends, family and elders about mental health and wellness.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health. Having good mental health helps us live well and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

“It can be easy to tell when someone has a physical illness, but you may not be able to tell when someone has a mental illness. This does not mean that someone with a mental illness is not in pain or does not need help,” the GN said in a public service announcement. “We all need help to heal and we heal better when we heal together.”

The GN says it’s never wrong to ask for help or seek treatment to improve your mental health: “Remember, you are not alone. If you or someone you know needs support, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, counsellor or an elder. Support is also available at your local health centre.”

The 2007-08 Inuit Health Survey revealed high 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.

For anonymous support, contact:

• The Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week) at 867-979-3333 or toll-free at 1-800-265-3333.

• Crisis Services Canada at Call 1-833-456-4566 or text to 45645 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. every day.

•—online chat, call or send a text to 1-833-456-4566.

• Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Kataujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council’s website (

• Kids Help Phone—call 1-800-668-6868, use the live chat at, or text ‘TALK’ to 686868.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the police or emergency number, or go to your local health centre or hospital immediately.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hope for Wellness on
    Inuktitut speakers are available.

    Make these numbers plus the local Mental Health numbers available 365 days/year.

  2. Posted by Mary on

    Yes, it’s fine to say wear your pins, but let’s ensure the soul of the message is getting there. All too often the symbols become the message, rather than the message getting through. Suddenly, we have people believing in the symbols rather than understanding what it takes to heal, therefore as usual, healing doesn’t get done. The communities are harbouring lots of people that would otherwise be locked up in a mental ward. Many if, they lived in a otherwise peaceful place, would be quickly dealt with voluntary or involuntary. Most of the crime in the communities of the north, are manifested from mental illness, fuelled by drugs, and mostly alcohol. Yes, off course sexual abuse, I wonder who to blame for that? Residential school ? Europeans? The whiteman? I agree, lots need to be done for mental illness in the north, but people must own their problem, and not be looking for excuses to blame someone outside of them.

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