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CSC Arviat, NU Design Lab, June 2019
The mindyourmind team went to Arviat, NU to work with local youth through the Canada Service Corps initiative. The goal of the project was to co-create a mental health resource specific to the needs of the Arviat community, as identified by the youth. The Inuit culture is vital for the mental wellness of everyone in the Nunavut communities. Once the resource is complete they will promote it in Arviat to ensure it reaches the appropriate audience.
mindyourmind, staff from the Nunavut Department of Health and 11 youth from Arviat: Anthony, Charlotte, Demaris, Derek, Holden, James, Johnathan, Stella, Tony, Vincent and Wesley.
mindyourmind worked with two Department of Health Mental Health Outreach Workers to recruit youth who are passionate about mental health and being involved in their community. Our journey to reach Arviat was one filled with many transitions and as soon as we left Winnipeg to head further North, we knew we were moving into something special. Landing in the Rankin Inlet airport was unlike anything we had ever experienced! When we lifted off and transitioned to Arviat, our excitement was tangible! Looking at pictures is one thing, but being up close and personal is another. There is a truly special energy and vibe in Nunavut. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the beauty of the Inuit culture, and eye opening to witness the effects of colonization. Both Hilary and Kukik, our partners, were most definitely our lifeline into this community and went above and beyond to show us around Arviat and shed light into the realities Inuit people are facing. Our two-day Design Lab was filled with the richness of Inuit culture. The group identified the top issues they face, and decided to create a culturally interactive mental health workbook.
We recognize that mental health programs are not “one size fits all”. We want to provide youth with the opportunity to create a mental health resource that is specifically suited to the Arviat area. The challenges that people in Nunavut face are quite sobering. On one hand they are immersed in their culture, and on the other hand there is such a strong yearning to truly be IN their culture. Colonization affects everyone; Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, so it was deeply important for mindyourmind to co-create and target these unique needs and challenges in an authentic and respectful manner. The mindyourmind process provides the youth with valuable skills and transferable experiences they can utilize in the future.
Throughout the weekend it was decided that we were going to create a culturally interactive mental health workbook titled Nuna, meaning land. This name was chosen because the land holds a special place in Inuit culture.