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Performances and guidance combined in Baker Lake mental health week

Performances and guidance combined in Baker Lake mental health week
Rapper Christian Tagoona performs in Baker Lake. Photo courtesy of Abraham Tukuumiq

A training session in Iqaluit was all the inspiration needed for Dody Qiyuk, community mental wellness coordinator for Baker Lake, to host a week of performances and community connections in her hometown.

“It’s important so that the community can know there is help and organizations are willing to help for mental issues or somebody to talk to,” said Qiyuk, who organized a week of performances and speakers from Nov. 21-25.

Speakers from the RCMP, justice officials and other organizations shared their advice for dealing with mental health issues and where people can turn, while performances from local artists drew crowds to take in the show.

Qiyuk estimated there were more than 60 people each night – that’s about where she stopped counting.

“It was a week of events so the community of Baker Lake knows there are organizations here in Baker Lake that they can go to if they need help, for them to talk to somebody,” she said.

She got the idea from a training session in Iqaluit, where one of the speakers talked about Mental Health Week being held in November.

“She inspired me to do a mental health week,” said Qiyuk.

The first night saw local rapper Christian Tagoona perform, followed by throatsingers, drum dancers and Inuit-style beatboxer Nelson Tagoona also put on a show.

Qiyuk said it could turn into an annual event in the future, as she heard positive responses from parents and children, who were glad to know there was so much help available.