Child and Youth Mental Health and Wellness Research, Intervention, and Community Advocacy in Nunavut

Category: 
Family Health
July 30, 2011
Mental health and wellness is the number one priority issue identified during our community consultations over the past 3 years. The Board of Directors of Qaujigiartiit Arctic Health Research Network Nunavut have also highlighted mental health and wellness issues, particularly for youth, as a priority issue for our Nunavut-based organization. 


The purpose of this intervention is to develop, implement, and evaluate, child and youth mental health and wellness interventions in Nunavut that focus on northern and community-based ways of understanding and knowing about healthy children and youth.
We are proposing to combine community-based programs and activities; research; and evaluation to deliver a multi-level 5-year program to address child and youth mental health and wellness issues in Nunavut.

Component 1) Children and Youth Health Summer Camps
One-week youth health summer camps have been delivered in Nunavut in the past with some measure of success. We are proposing to collaborate with community partners and programs to deliver these camps again with a focus on child and youth mental health and wellness, self-esteem building, and more. 

Click here to view "Youth Empowerment Camps Report" - English
Click here to view "ᒪᒃᑯᑦᑐᑦ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᖏᑲᓐᓂᕈᑎᒃᓴᖏᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓴᓐᖏᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ   ᑎᒍᓯᕙᓪᓕᐊᒍᑎᒃᓴᓂᒃ ᓅᑎᑕᐅᓯᒪᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᖏᑦ" - Inuktitut
Click here to see a visual overview of the 8 Urajait/Rocks Model English/Inuktitut

Component 2) Youth Exploring Mental Health and Wellness Issues Through Photovoice in Nunavut Communities
Photovoice is a research method that allows the photographer to be the researcher. In 2008-09 Qaujigiartiit took on a youth wellness photovoice project with students at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit. Upon evaluation of the project, it was extremely successful on a number of levels, including raising awareness about youth perspectives on mental health and wellness, and providing new research knowledge on this issue in Nunavut. We are proposing to collaborate with schools across Nunavut to provide youth with the opportunity to explore and share perspectives on Mental Health and Wellness through Photovoice on a larger scale. This project will continue to generate new research knowledge about the mental health of Nunavut youth as well as raise awareness of youth perspectives with regard to the number of issues they are faced with.

Component 3) Needs assessment for child and youth mental health services in Nunavut
In community consultations conducted by Qaujigiartiit Arctic Health Research Network - Nunavut in the past, a needs assessment of services and programs for children and youth has been highlighted as a need. The goal of this component of the program would be to highlight immediate needs for children and youth mental health services as well as provide information with which to advocate for action on a number of health determinants that need to be addressed to promote child and youth wellness in the North including housing, poverty, nutrition, clothing, and family support programs.

Click here to view the Child and Youth Mental Health Services Needs Assessment in Nunavut Report - English
Click here to view the Child and Youth Mental Health Services Needs Assessment in Nunavut Report - Inuktitut

Component 4) Health Promotion Program/Education Program for Parents
A very strong need for parenting support programs has been identified in Nunavut communities. In consultations conducted by Qaujigiartiit Arctic Health Research Network Nunavut with Nunavut community members, it was highlighted as a priority issue. There exists at present a Nunavut-based working group to address the educational and support needs of parents. We propose to collaborate with this group to implement an intervention that will be selected in the first year of this project (there are a number of models currently being reviewed by the working group). The program will be augmented to reflect community needs and cultural realities before being implemented. Pre- and post-intervention data will be collected to evaluate efficacy and cultural relevance. The goal of this component is to highlight the role of parents in supporting and raising healthy children and youth, develop and implement a culturally relevant intervention, and evaluate it.