In the remote Indigenous communities of Northern Canada, suicide rates are among the highest in the world.
Over the past four years, Movember has funded six programs in which nearly 500 young men have learnt practical traditional skills such as seal, duck or caribou hunting, rifle handling and ice fishing, while strengthening their social connections and links to their cultural heritage.
Last June, it was announced that Movember would fund the first subarctic Indigenous Mental Health Addictions Centre in Churchill, a remote town on the shores of the Hudson Bay in the Arctic tundra.
The northern Indigenous communities that surround Churchill suffer from suicide rates nearly four times the national average and the need for resources to tackle the growing mental health crisis in the region is urgent.
Movember’s Director of Global Indigenous Programs Sonia Prevost-Derbecker says: “Young men in northern Manitoba aged 18 to 29 are more at risk of adverse impacts from having insufficient access to health services, healthy food, or mental health services or to experience poverty and unemployment.
“Churchill is one of the areas that have very few extra supports in the community whether it is support for aftercare addiction, mental health, or counselling.
These extra levels of support really make a difference around people’s health outcomes. The wellness centre is something that could accommodate the number of needs and we are pleased to be the first in Canada to do that.
Our Indigenous Program approach at Movember is more than just treatment and mental health and addictions support. It's about creating wellness in families and communities across the region. The core of that has to be a blanket of culture."
The Churchill Wellness Centre will help provide mental health support, particularly targeted towards local Indigenous populations.
Planned mental health programs including includes the establishment of a local Land-based program which seeks to preserve cultural traditions and introduce traditional teachings and a Men’s Group Program.
The Men’s Group Program will focus on the benefits of male-focused group-based activities such as traditional arts or beadwork as a means of developing stronger social connections.