Taloyoak woman wins award for work in mental health care

Mary Ugyuk receives $5,000 prize for community care efforts

Mary Ugyuk, a wellness co-ordinator for the Hamlet of Taloyoak, has received an award for Innovation in Mental Health and Addictions Care from the Council of the Federation for her community care work. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

A wellness co-ordinator in Taloyoak has been honoured for her work in health care, Canada’s premiers announced Tuesday.

Mary Ugyuk was awarded $5,000 for the work she’s done to improve community services in the hamlet of about 1,000 people, where she has worked since 2010, according to a Council of the Federation news release.

The award for Innovation in Mental Health and Addictions Care is presented in each province and territory to acknowledge innovative projects that positively impact mental health and addictions care.

It is awarded by the Council of the Federation, which comprises all 13 provincial and territorial premiers.

Ugyuk is one of 13 recipients of the award from across Canada, including several Indigenous-focused mental health support programs.

Initially mentoring youth and prenatal health groups, Ugyuk has also helped expand and create programs to benefit Taloyoak, including a safe-and-sober meeting space for adults, an elder and youth centre, mobility scooters, a soup kitchen, a summer camp, a food voucher program and several other community projects.

“Mary has been instrumental in creating and driving community wellness programs from a local perspective, rather than a territorial or regional focus, with the unique onsite ability to adapt if adjustments are needed to ensure effective and functional program delivery,” said council spokesperson Paola St-Georges.

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