August 6, 2019
Following the launch of their new youth space, Ulukhaktok youth can now better connect with their culture following the transformation of their old skating rink.
Cabin Radio recently wrote an article on the launch of the new youth space in Ulukhaktok, NT. The article covers the transformation of the curling rink into a space for older youth to practice their Inuvialuit culture. They will also be able to connect to mental health resources in a non-clinical setting.
Together with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Ulukhaktok Community Corporation, Access Open Minds examined the community’s gaps in service as perceived by Ulukhaktok youth. While the community already has a youth centre, the project team found residents aged 18 and older were less likely to use this space and take part in support services or cultural activities. Older Ulukhaktok youth told researchers they wanted more opportunities to connect to their culture – including advanced Inuinnaqtun lessons, sewing and beading classes, and longer on-the-land camps.
The idea behind the space is to be a place where young people can both practice their culture and find support when going through mental health challenges, said Meghan Etter, manager of counselling services for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
Etter hopes sharing circles, sometimes called healing circles, will bring the conversation around mental health out of the clinical setting. “Right now, the way the system is structured in a lot of the small communities, the health centre is the go-to for everything – and we’re trying to change that,” she said.
“We’re looking at hosting some sharing circles for families who have been affected by mental health, so that they can start to connect, and talk, and provide a bit of a support to one another,” Etter said. “People can start talking about mental health issues and knowing that it’s a normal process of life. It’s OK to talk about it.”