Boys of Nunavut

Author: Movember

In the Inuit Nunangat region of Northern Canada, suicide rates range from 5-25 times the national average. The highest risk group is Inuit males aged 15-29, with rates almost 40 times the national average.
 
To explore and demonstrate the effectiveness of land-based programs in improving mental health & wellbeing, the Movember Foundation has funded a Circumpolar program in Northern Canada. A team led by Michael Jong from the Labrador & Grenfell Health Authority and Gwen Healey from Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre worked with six community sites to implement and evaluate a variety of initiatives.
 
One of these initiatives is the ‘Young Hunters’ Program in Arviat, Nunavut.  It was created in 2012 by  community leaders, elders and a network of individuals with expertise in indigenous health and mental wellness - including the project lead Michael Jong.
 
The program takes at-risk youth out on the land with an experienced hunter who teaches traditional Inuit skills and knowledge to live off the land.  The participants learn resilience and self-dependence and through this experience strengthen the ties to their cultural heritage and community. 
 
The project is showing considerable promise as a means of addressing the needs of young men and boys. Against a backdrop where 1 in 200 young people take their life each year, not one participant in the Young Hunters’ Program has been lost to suicide since the project began.
 
This work would not be happening without the support of the remarkable Movember fundraising community. This short film, The Boys of Nunavut, shows the program in action, and what it means to be a part of it.
 
More information about the wider projects within the Circumpolar program can be found here: http://www.movembercircumpolar.com