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My name is Jaydin Nungaq, I am a youth outreach coordinator with the department of family services. I develop projects with my coworkers around youth programming. We are not limited in what sort of programming we carry out, but our goal is to follow Inuit societal values and to ensure we have good intentions. A successful example of something we have done in the past is a youth camp. Last summer, my co-worker Max Joy and I developed a camp called Inspire Week. We had 40 kids aged 6-12 come together for fun activities which primarily focused on building healthy relationships, cooperation skills, and celebrating our differences. The Inspire Week camp provided kids with refreshments, snacks, and lunches. We were able to spend 3 hours per day at Sylvia Grinnell Park, exploring the area with the kids. This is just one example of the type of programming we like to include in our work.
People in Nunavut need to make genuine connections when talking to youth. We need people to be consistent and maintain a good program platform or foundation with whatever they provide for the youth in schools or outside of schools. It is a matter of having good intentions and keeping that consistency to maintain the effectiveness of the programming or workshops and when advocating for mental health in general. The topic of mental health comes up everyday in my work with family services. I feel like mental health weighs heavily on the department of family services and social work in Nunavut. I am constantly working on, not only my client’s mental health, but my own mental health as well.
When I was in high school, Embrace Life Council came and presented at the school and talked about their great workshops that they have done in the past. I remember Bell Let’s Talk happening in the past and myself getting involved in it. I think things like Bell Let’s Talk Day do a great job at identifying stigma that exists, but I also think we just need more of these workshops and programs that focus on good intentions. We need to continue to work on a consistent process in mental health to make Nunavut better.
I think I struggled throughout my whole time in high school, just trying to find an outlet to express myself and get all the mental weight off my shoulders while going through school, trying to learn. I think peer support is something that has a huge impact on youth growing up; it did for me. Growing up as an Inuk male, in Iqaluit, in Nunavut, and where I am at now, I feel like from my own experience, there needs to be a lot more freedom to express yourself in more arts that like get the kids going, gets them thinking outside of the box and trying new things. Like yes, this is what Inuit are; this is what our people can do. That is my perspective on it. There needs to be more openness and availability to be free in doing your own things.