If there’s one thing Favour Chukwunonso, community mental health nurse in Rankin Inlet, wants people to remember, it’s that it’s OK not to feel good.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone you trust,” said Chukwunonso, a registered nurse who has worked in mental health with various age groups for many years.
“It’s OK to not be OK. Do not walk alone. Help is available. Mental health is ready whenever you are.”
Chukwunonso has been working in Nunavut since 2020, delivering specialized services to individuals going through mental health challenges.
She helps people with suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, addictions and much more, while working collaboratively with stakeholders, such as the RCMP, schools and other healthcare professionals in the community.
“On the front line, I help with medication administration and monitoring, I provide crisis intervention for people who are escalating and I also support capacity building for our community to ensure healthier minds for Rankin Inlet,” said Chukwunonso.
What makes it meaningful to her is helping clients resolve their challenges, supporting people with addictions in their recovery journey, helping people understand trauma and initiate healing for them.
“I also find it so meaningful that I’m able to help save a life,” she said. “Being able to support the community, helping to save lives, supporting capacity building, identifying knowledge gaps and filling the gaps — it’s awesome.”
She suggests people seek mental health supports when they need them and emphasizes that doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness. Talking to Elders, trusted friends, family members and religious leaders can all help.
“We use a non-judgemental approach to discuss these mental health issues, because they are real,” said Chukwunonso. “They are in our homes, in our community, in our workplaces. Everybody you see is going through something that we don’t know, and we have to be kind.”
Places to turn
The Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
Call 867-979-3333 or toll free at 1-800-265-3333
Healing by Talking Program
Free telephone counselling service provided by the Government of Nunavut (GN). Visit your local health centre for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-867-975-5367
GN Employee/Family Assistance Program
Crisis Services Canada
Call or text 1-833-456-4566
Online chat available at www.crisisservicescanada.ca
Online chat available at www.youthspace.ca
Email counselling is available by calling 250-478-8357 or toll free at 1-866-478-8357
Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Kataujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council
Visit the website www.inuusiq.com for more information and support
Kids Help Phone
Live chat available at kidshelpphone.ca
Text ‘CONNECT’ to 686868 to message with a trained volunteer
Source: Department of Health