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GN responds to youth mental health report

The Office of the Nunavut Representative for Children and Youth released a report this week with recommendations to improve mental health services for children and youth. See that story here:

In response to the report, Angela A. Petru, acting director of communications, provided the following statement on behalf of the Government of Nunavut:

“The Our Minds Matter report provides insight and helps focus attention on the mental health needs of children and youth in Nunavut. Several GN departments are currently working to address mental health and well-being of children and youth in various areas:

The Departments of Education and Health are working together on delivering a pilot program that will provide training giving Mental Health Outreach Workers and School Ilinniarvimmi Inuusilirijiit counsellors’ competence and confidence in providing mental health interventions for children and youth.

The Department of Education in consultation with the Department of Justice is revising existing Education Support Services Directive to align with the Interagency Information Sharing Protocol (2015) as it relates to consent.

Health is working on creating new paraprofessional positions that will include youth program workers. These workers will focus on delivering programming that will address the unique wellness needs of youth. Currently out of 16 existing positions in communities which deal with the full scope of mental health issues, including youth, six communities have youth specific positions filled. These communities are: Naujaat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Arviat and Rankin Inlet. In addition, Youth Drop-in Counselling program in Iqaluit is currently staffed by three youth workers.

The Department of Health, Mental Health and Addiction team (MHA) is also currently drafting a Mental Health and Addiction Strategy. A main goal of the strategy is to create a plan which increases Inuit employment within the team, specifically in outreach roles involving youth and children. MHA has been actively working with job evaluation to create entry-level jobs in community mental health outreach, thus allowing for learning and growth to occur in the workplace. This will increase the number of youth outreach workers.
Quality of Life is funding Embrace Life Council to develop a youth informed public awareness campaign for children, youth, and their families to reduce mental health stigma. Its development is currently in progress.

Coordinated and sustainable mental health actions involve everyone: parents, schools, communities and all levels of government. The GN appreciates the recommendations from Representative for Children and Youth report and will use them to inform and revise government practices moving forward, to close gaps and guide future actions to benefit children and youth’s mental health.”