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Nunavut is in a mental health crisis

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The Derpy Democratic Republic Of Herp
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Nunavut is in a mental health crisis

Postby The Derpy Democratic Republic Of Herp » Wed May 16, 2018 4:58 am

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Nunavut’s health minister says more than one Arctic community is at a crisis point dealing with social problems.

“We already have some letters crying out for more services,” said Pat Angnakak, who said several hamlets have written her asking for special help.

“It’s not just Pangnirtung in a crisis. I think Nunavut is in a crisis.”

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: How AI can prevent suicides in Canada


Last week, the community of Pangnirtung on the southeast coast of Baffin Island sent a letter to the territorial government that pleaded for extra resources to deal with suicide attempts and growing violence.

The picturesque hamlet of about 1,400 surrounded by mountains, glaciers and ocean had 12 suicide attempts over two weeks last February after a year without a suicide.

Police calls had increased 50 per cent since 2016. Assaults, especially domestic violence, nearly tripled. In March, the territory’s poison control centre took 55 calls from Pangnirtung – three times as many as from any spot in Nunavut.

WATCH: Investing in Indigenous healthcare after suicide crisis (July 2017)


Booze flows in what is supposed to be a dry community. Local officials said violence is a daily occurrence and the community could no longer cope.

Angnakak said Nunavut has since sent in two mental health workers, filling slots that had long been vacant.

They will join two other such workers. The hamlet also has a 12-step program for addictions. A community wellness group was granted $630,000 to write a wellness plan for Pang.

But Angnakak gave no indication the hamlet will get the kind of investment its letter asks for – an emergency shelter, basic crisis counselling, victim support and faster mental health referrals.

READ MORE: Iqaluit’s population turns to Amazon to save money, government program ‘not working’

The demand is just too widespread.

“It’s not just one community,” Angnakak said. “We have stats from across Nunavut that are high in all the areas you don’t want them to be high in.

“It’s not just Pangnirtung. It’s everywhere.”

Markus Wilcke, a Pangnirtung hamlet councillor, welcomed the extra mental health workers. But he said help has to come from more than one government department.

“We need to have a more holistic approach to things,” he said. “Things are very fragmented.”

He said the community should have a one-stop storefront for people who are struggling with issues from addictions to family violence to trouble with the law.

The two new workers, who may only remain temporarily, amount to “a drop in the bucket,” Wilcke said.

He said representatives from four government departments, as well as the RCMP, will attend a hamlet council meeting next Monday.

The view towards Cumberland Sound from the hamlet of Pangnirtung, Nunavut Thursday August 20, 2009. Everyone thought things in this Nunavut community were finally been looking up. Pangnirtung, which once had one of the highest suicide rates in the territory, hadn’t seen such a tragedy in over a year. A local community group had drawn up a forward-looking, proactive plan to keep its youth safe. People breathed easier. Then came February.
The view towards Cumberland Sound from the hamlet of Pangnirtung, Nunavut Thursday August 20, 2009. Everyone thought things in this Nunavut community were finally been looking up. Pangnirtung, which once had one of the highest suicide rates in the territory, hadn’t seen such a tragedy in over a year. A local community group had drawn up a forward-looking, proactive plan to keep its youth safe. People breathed easier. Then came February.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
“We can create ivn the community, more of a wrap-around service to the people. It is not just a couple individuals that will make the difference. It’s also the way they’re being integrated into our community services.”

Angnakak said the issue boils down the same thing many Nunavut issues boil down to – lack of resources and infrastructure such as proper housing.

“We need to have more shelters. We have women fleeing from their own houses and have no place to go. We need transitional housing,” she said. “It all stems around housing and the need for more housing. We need more money.

“Do you have a magic wand I could wave around a bit?”



Sad to see there territorial government failing at mental health.

With this and the recent van attack in Toronto we can see a need that no party at a federal level is fulfilling: a call for mental health.

More expansive health federal healthcare guidelines making it clear that people on social programs for mental health disabilities should get more money. Perhaps paying for drugs like Prozac on a federal scale would also help.

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Postby Chan Island » Wed May 16, 2018 5:03 am

12 suicide attempts in 2 weeks in a town of only 1400? That's really high, and I hope this situation is sorted out as soon as possible.

I wonder what's causing all of these issues? Obviously mental health is the one under the microscope, but surely there must be something more at play here.
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Postby Firaxin » Wed May 16, 2018 5:07 am

First, massively increase taxes for faster healthcare

Next, make psychology and psychiatry electives in high school (or equivalent) education.

Finally, encourage the solving of mental health problems socially. Make it seem like the most important threat in the world.
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Postby Sovaal » Wed May 16, 2018 5:25 am

I mean this isn’t unusual for far removed locations such as Nunavut, Alaska, and Greenland. Pretty desolate up there.

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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 5:36 am

Sovaal wrote:I mean this isn’t unusual for far removed locations such as Nunavut, Alaska, and Greenland. Pretty desolate up there.


And the weather never helps. Little to no sunlight can affect people's moods drastically.
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Postby Sovaal » Wed May 16, 2018 5:57 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Sovaal wrote:I mean this isn’t unusual for far removed locations such as Nunavut, Alaska, and Greenland. Pretty desolate up there.


And the weather never helps. Little to no sunlight can affect people's moods drastically.

Indeed. I mean governments and organizations around the world have poorer millions into research on this for a reason (primarily has to due with soldiers and such, but still).

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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 6:00 am

Sovaal wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
And the weather never helps. Little to no sunlight can affect people's moods drastically.

Indeed. I mean governments and organizations around the world have poorer millions into research on this for a reason (primarily has to due with soldiers and such, but still).


It's probably a good idea to invest on their healthcare, particularly for mental health. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is manageable with light therapy and psychotherapy. However, if the issue is one of isolation, or economics, that's another matter.
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Postby Sovaal » Wed May 16, 2018 6:05 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Sovaal wrote:Indeed. I mean governments and organizations around the world have poorer millions into research on this for a reason (primarily has to due with soldiers and such, but still).


It's probably a good idea to invest on their healthcare, particularly for mental health. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is manageable with light therapy and psychotherapy. However, if the issue is one of isolation, or economics, that's another matter.

Well these regions are particularly the richest in the world, and isolation doesn’t really help with economics, especially for the lower rungs of society. So you combine factors that on their own can ca We depressions and combine them in one giant depressing smoothie, and well...

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Postby Internationalist Bastard » Wed May 16, 2018 6:15 am

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Postby Hirota » Wed May 16, 2018 6:32 am

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/na ... le4426600/

There has been an observed trend of higher than average suicide rates amongst the Indigenous of canada for sometime. It seems that nothing has improved.
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Postby Internationalist Bastard » Wed May 16, 2018 6:33 am

Hirota wrote:https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/death-suicide-rates-among-inuit-kids-soar-over-rest-of-canada/article4426600/

There has been an observed trend of higher than average suicide rates amongst the Indigenous of canada for sometime. It seems that nothing has improved.

Hm
Depression more common in people of Native American ancestry?
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Postby Ostroeuropa » Wed May 16, 2018 6:34 am

Chan Island wrote:12 suicide attempts in 2 weeks in a town of only 1400? That's really high, and I hope this situation is sorted out as soon as possible.

I wonder what's causing all of these issues? Obviously mental health is the one under the microscope, but surely there must be something more at play here.


Bridgend had that happen here.

It was concluded that the media was partly to blame by doing wall to wall coverage of a suicide epidemic and glorifying it.

Suicide epidemics run out of control the more focus is paid to them sometimes, but I suspect that's if you focus on the deaths and the victims rather than discuss underlying causes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgend_ ... _incidents

This might be similar.
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Postby Hirota » Wed May 16, 2018 6:39 am

Internationalist Bastard wrote:
Hirota wrote:https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/death-suicide-rates-among-inuit-kids-soar-over-rest-of-canada/article4426600/

There has been an observed trend of higher than average suicide rates amongst the Indigenous of canada for sometime. It seems that nothing has improved.

Hm
Depression more common in people of Native American ancestry?
Well, I'm not sure about depression, but a quick search at suicide figures show a disproportionate level for some native american ancestry in the US:

Image

Source

It's probably fair to assume depression is correlative to suicide, so it's reasonable to assume depression is probably more common in Native American ancestry
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Postby Internationalist Bastard » Wed May 16, 2018 6:42 am

Hirota wrote:
Internationalist Bastard wrote:Hm
Depression more common in people of Native American ancestry?
Well, I'm not sure about depression, but a quick search at suicide figures show a disproportionate level for some native american ancestry in the US:

Image

Source

It's probably fair to assume depression is correlative to suicide, so it's reasonable to assume depression is probably more common in Native American ancestry

Interesting
Horrible and depressing too
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 6:54 am

Sovaal wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
It's probably a good idea to invest on their healthcare, particularly for mental health. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is manageable with light therapy and psychotherapy. However, if the issue is one of isolation, or economics, that's another matter.

Well these regions are particularly the richest in the world, and isolation doesn’t really help with economics, especially for the lower rungs of society. So you combine factors that on their own can ca We depressions and combine them in one giant depressing smoothie, and well...


Oh, absolutely. It's not just one factor. Although, when it comes to SAD, that is treatable. However, if you lack the resources (although Canada has a passably functional NHS), eh, treating the condition isn't as easy.
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Postby Hirota » Wed May 16, 2018 6:59 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Sovaal wrote:Well these regions are particularly the richest in the world, and isolation doesn’t really help with economics, especially for the lower rungs of society. So you combine factors that on their own can ca We depressions and combine them in one giant depressing smoothie, and well...


Oh, absolutely. It's not just one factor. Although, when it comes to SAD, that is treatable. However, if you lack the resources (although Canada has a passably functional NHS), eh, treating the condition isn't as easy.
Hmmm...if SAD is a factor, one would assume there is a potential for an oscillation type effect over the course of time. So when sunlight is limited, would the number of suicides increase?

Also, do we know if the same happens on the other end of America, down towards Patagonia and the islands of Chile?

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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 7:03 am

Hirota wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Oh, absolutely. It's not just one factor. Although, when it comes to SAD, that is treatable. However, if you lack the resources (although Canada has a passably functional NHS), eh, treating the condition isn't as easy.
Hmmm...if SAD is a factor, one would assume there is a potential for an oscillation type effect over the course of time. So when sunlight is limited, would the number of suicides increase?

Also, do we know if the same happens on the other end of America, down towards Patagonia and the islands of Chile?

To the googles!


I would think it would be a matter of checking when the higher number of suicides happens in Nunavut. I thought about SAD being a contributing factor seeing as they're in the Arctic archipelago. I am sure reduced sunlight is a given during winter. But you also pointed out that the suicide rates are particularly high among the Native populations, so, there's more to it than just seasonal affective disorder at play.

EDIT: ok, this is rather interesting. Research done by a Swedish university points out that, at least in Greenland, suicide rates are higher during summer. The culprit seems to be the midnight sun.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Wed May 16, 2018 7:06 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Sovaal wrote:Indeed. I mean governments and organizations around the world have poorer millions into research on this for a reason (primarily has to due with soldiers and such, but still).


It's probably a good idea to invest on their healthcare, particularly for mental health. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is manageable with light therapy and psychotherapy. However, if the issue is one of isolation, or economics, that's another matter.

I'd imagine its probably a combination of all three. My understanding is that Nunavut is largely composed of small, impoverished First Nations peoples, and weather probably keeps a lot of people inside with not much to do for most of winter.
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Postby Canadensia » Wed May 16, 2018 7:07 am

The problem extends considerably further than mental health, frankly.

The territory has the highest rate of alcoholism and domestic abuse in the entire country.

Didn't used to be this way, but the residential schools really fucked up the old Inuit social fabric.
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 7:08 am

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
It's probably a good idea to invest on their healthcare, particularly for mental health. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is manageable with light therapy and psychotherapy. However, if the issue is one of isolation, or economics, that's another matter.

I'd imagine its probably a combination of all three. My understanding is that Nunavut is largely composed of small, impoverished First Nations peoples, and weather probably keeps a lot of people inside with not much to do for most of winter.


Yes. More than likely it's about a combination of factors, lack of resources being high on the list.
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 7:11 am

Canadensia wrote:The problem extends considerably further than mental health, frankly.

The territory has the highest rate of alcoholism and domestic abuse in the entire country.

Didn't used to be this way, but the reserve schools really fucked up the old Inuit social fabric.


According to Nunatsiaq News, as of 2015, the root of Inuit high suicide rates was rooted in historical trauma. Interesting. I will go an read more on the subject.
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Postby Canadensia » Wed May 16, 2018 7:17 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:I'd imagine its probably a combination of all three. My understanding is that Nunavut is largely composed of small, impoverished First Nations peoples, and weather probably keeps a lot of people inside with not much to do for most of winter.


Yes. More than likely it's about a combination of factors, lack of resources being high on the list.


I disagree, frankly.

The federal government's already poured billions into infrastructure and social projects up North, but it hasn't really amounted to much. Throwing money at the problem rarely helps when the underlying reason isn't financial, but cultural. The vast majority of the population of Nunavut is Inuit, people who got by just fine for centuries in one of the most desolate and unforgiving environments in the world.

The question, then, is quite obvious: what went wrong?

The answer is, frankly, the same as almost every other aboriginal culture in Canada: residential schools and the extreme cultural fallout that came with them. If Nunavut's broken social fabric is to be repaired, its people need to reconnect with what allowed them to thrive in this environment in the first place. More healthcare services can help to a certain extent, but it's largely a waste of money since it doesn't actually tackle the problem: these people's culture has been destroyed, and needs to be repaired.
Last edited by Canadensia on Wed May 16, 2018 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 7:20 am

Canadensia wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Yes. More than likely it's about a combination of factors, lack of resources being high on the list.


I disagree, frankly.

The federal government's already poured billions into infrastructure and social projects up North, but it hasn't really amounted to much. Throwing money at the problem rarely helps when the underlying reason isn't financial, but cultural. The vast majority of the population of Nunavut is Inuit, people who got by just fine for centuries in one of the most desolate and unforgiving environments in the world.

The question, then, is quite obvious: what went wrong?

The answer is, frankly, the same as almost every other aboriginal culture in Canada: reserve schools and the extreme cultural fallout that came with them. If Nunavut's broken social fabric is to be repaired, its people need to reconnect with what allowed them to thrive in this environment in the first place. More healthcare services can help to a certain extent, but it's largely a waste of money since it doesn't actually tackle the problem: these people's culture has been destroyed, and needs to be repaired.


Well, being impoverished is never easy. But for what I've been reading, the issue seems to be rooted in historical trauma. Things were ok while Inuit society kept to its origins of hunting. Once they started having more contact with white settlers, and were made to settle themselves and transition to waged jobs, things started to fall apart.
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Postby Canadensia » Wed May 16, 2018 7:30 am

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Canadensia wrote:
I disagree, frankly.

The federal government's already poured billions into infrastructure and social projects up North, but it hasn't really amounted to much. Throwing money at the problem rarely helps when the underlying reason isn't financial, but cultural. The vast majority of the population of Nunavut is Inuit, people who got by just fine for centuries in one of the most desolate and unforgiving environments in the world.

The question, then, is quite obvious: what went wrong?

The answer is, frankly, the same as almost every other aboriginal culture in Canada: reserve schools and the extreme cultural fallout that came with them. If Nunavut's broken social fabric is to be repaired, its people need to reconnect with what allowed them to thrive in this environment in the first place. More healthcare services can help to a certain extent, but it's largely a waste of money since it doesn't actually tackle the problem: these people's culture has been destroyed, and needs to be repaired.


Well, being impoverished is never easy. But for what I've been reading, the issue seems to be rooted in historical trauma. Things were ok while Inuit society kept to its origins of hunting. Once they started having more contact with white settlers, and were made to settle themselves and transition to waged jobs, things started to fall apart.


Eh, being poor is a matter of perspective. You aren't really poor if you already have everything you want; even if it's just an igloo, your tribe, some hunting tools and your trusty kayak.

Regardless, yes, the issue is historical, but not in the way you probably think. Most contact with white traders wasn't terribly damaging, and in fact was quite desired and profitable for the Inuit. The only minor problem was the sale of alcohol, which the Inuit as well as most aboriginal tribesmen became addicted to, but that was a problem which they were more than capable of solving themselves.

The issue came about with the rise of residential schools, which separated entire generations of aboriginal children from their families, broke up the ancient social fabric and largely destroyed aboriginal cultures. The schools are now gone, thankfully, but the lasting cultural problems they left behind haven't been dealt with.

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Nanatsu no Tsuki
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed May 16, 2018 7:33 am

Canadensia wrote:
Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:
Well, being impoverished is never easy. But for what I've been reading, the issue seems to be rooted in historical trauma. Things were ok while Inuit society kept to its origins of hunting. Once they started having more contact with white settlers, and were made to settle themselves and transition to waged jobs, things started to fall apart.


Eh, being poor is a matter of perspective. You aren't really poor if you already have everything you want; even if it's just an igloo, your tribe, some hunting tools and your trusty kayak.

Regardless, yes, the issue is historical, but not in the way you probably think. Most contact with white traders wasn't terribly damaging, and in fact was quite desired and profitable for the Inuit. The only minor problem was the sale of alcohol, which the Inuit as well as most aboriginal tribesmen became addicted to, but that was a problem which they were more than capable of solving themselves.

The issue came about with the rise of residential schools, which separated entire generations of aboriginal children from their families, broke up the ancient social fabric and largely destroyed aboriginal cultures. The schools are now gone, thankfully, but the lasting cultural problems they left behind haven't been dealt with.


The US has a similar problem with many Native Americans who live in reservations becoming addicted to alcohol.
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