Media Centre

Nunavut Community and Personal Wellness Report

IQALUIT, Nunavut (September 21, 2011) – A report based on the results from the Inuit Health Survey shows that Inuit want good health information to make informed decisions for their personal and mental well-being.

The Inuit Health Survey 2007-2008 Nunavut Community and Personal Wellness Report was done through a partnership of the Government of Nunavut (GN), Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), and researchers from both McGill University and the University of Toronto. Researchers spent two years surveying Nunavummiut. The Community and Personal Wellness Survey included a questionnaire covering seven areas: community safety; traditional activities; social networks; individual mental health; interpersonal violence; suicide; and alcohol or drug use and gambling.

“This survey is an important step in understanding the roots of wellness in Nunavut. It gives us the big picture and can help guide efforts to promote health and wellbeing for the whole population,” said Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Director of the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. “Inuit have faced many challenges in recent decades. Health information like this gives us a snapshot of the current situation and can inform policy and strategies for mental health promotion and suicide prevention.”

“Promoting community and personal mental health and wellness is a priority for the Department of Health and Social Services. The information in this report allows us to target the areas of greatest need within a broad range of programs and services,” said Dr. Geraldine Osborne, Chief Medical Officer of Health with the Department of Health and Social Services.

“The report reaffirms the need for urgent action in the area of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. NTI remains committed to working with the Government of Nunavut and others in implementing meaningful solutions that address the mental health needs of Inuit,” said Cathy Towtongie, President of NTI.

The Report will be made available online on the NTI website and the Government of Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services website. Hard copies will be available at all local health centres.

Funding for this project was received from the Government of Canada’s Program for International Polar Year, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Health Canada, University of Toronto, Government of Nunavut, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formerly Indian and Northern Affairs), and ArcticNet.

Media Contacts:

Ron Wassink
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of Nunavut
Tel: (867) 975-5710
Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Tel: (867) 975-4914