HEALTHY LIVING & WELL BEING. EATING DISORDERS, I NEED HELP: TEEN SUICIDE PREVENTION
Iqittiaqhimalugu Inuuhiq Katimajiit – Embrace Life Council
ᐃᓴᒃᓯᒪᒋᑦ ᐃᓅᓯᕐᒥ ᑲᑐᔾᔨᖃᑎᒌᑦ
Iqittiaqhimalugu Inuuhiq Katimajiit
Embrace Life Council
Conseil Saisis la vie
P.O. Box 2259
Phone: (867) 975-3233
Fax: (867) 975-3234
Toll Free: 1-866-804-2782
If you live in the North, you may have heard of Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit, also known as Embrace Life Council – however, you may not be familiar with our mandate, and the many resources we provide. In this article, we will introduce the organization and give a brief overview of what it is that we do to contribute to mental wellness across Nunavut.
IIKELC is primarily focused on suicide prevention and life promotion. We serve the entire territory of Nunavut and currently have offices located in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, alongside lots of collaboration from community members in the territory’s other 23 hamlets. We have a small but dedicated team with a range of different strengths and lived experience, who all contribute to make sure we are able to reach as many Nunavummiut as possible.
Our main goal is to provide opportunities for community members to better their mental health and maintain a positive outlook on life, whether that be through education, cultural programs, healing workshops, annual Embrace Life Week activities, or competitions.
Over the past year, many communities have reached out to us, wanting to understand the link between trauma and mental health. We were lucky enough to travel to 8 communities in 2022 to deliver our Trauma-Informed Practice training, a one-day workshop which explains how trauma affects the brain, the effects it can have on a person’s emotions and behaviour, and ways that we can all be more understanding towards individuals who are experiencing trauma. This workshop aligns well with the Our Children, Our Responsibility training, which helps adults learn about preventing child sexual abuse and how best to help and respond when a child discloses.
Other educational workshops we offer include Reach Out, a suicide prevention training for youth and adults ages 14 and up, and ASIST, a suicide intervention training for adults. We are also in the process of developing a Mindfulness workshop, which will focus on different relaxation and breathing techniques to better practice self-care, especially in stressful situations.
We have also run several cultural and artistic programs over the past year. One of those is the char preservation program we ran in partnership with Polar Outfitting over the summer, which allows youth to spend time on the land, reconnecting with the environment and learning valuable traditional skills they can pass on to others. Others, such as our hand-sewing programs, provide an opportunity for youth and adults to spend time in a social setting learning to make a range of items using traditional materials, such as sealskin mitts and fur trapper hats. Participants in our machine sewing programs learned to make cushions and ski pants, while youth and adults participating in our beading programs have come away with beautiful earrings. Another kind of program that is very popular, especially with youth, is anything arts-and-crafts based; we have had youth here creating amazing artworks using mediums including linocut and painting.
Every year in September, IIKELC organizes activities, and a suicide prevention walk in honour of Embrace Life Day on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day. In addition, many communities host walks, tea and bannock stalls, or community barbecues on September 10th – in Iqaluit last year, we organized a community feast and games for the occasion. While it is a heavy day, these events provide an excellent opportunity to bring people together and remind ourselves that we are never alone.
As we all readjust to life post-pandemic, it can be challenging to shake off the feeling of isolation that comes with spending so much time apart. All of our programs, workshops and events have the same goal: to make sure that we can help foster connections between community members and give each other ideas on how to stay mentally healthy. Getting creative, learning more about ourselves as people, and simply spending time with each other are all great ways to keep our spirits up and stay connected; this is what IIKELC hopes to achieve this year and every year.
If you think you or your organization could benefit from any of the services we offer, or if you would like to know more about us, please visit our website at www.inuusiq.com, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @EmbraceLifeNU.
Qujannamiik and have a great 2023!