Welcome to the live coverage of Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo Willox’s discussion about climate change and mental health in the North.
Attendees mingling enjoying some refreshments before Dr. Willox takes the front of the room.
Willox taking the front room about to begin.
Willox being introduced, decribed as "dynamic" and "interesting".
After her introduction, guests give a warm applause.
Willox asks the room: Who has been to the Canadian Arctic? A few people raise their hands.
"Approximately 55,000 Inuit living in Canada currently"
Canadian Arctic projected to be one of the the fastest warming areas on the globe. This can be a real problem when living in the North, Willox explains.
2009 survey in the North showed that of the people surveyed, 100% of people found that mental health was the biggest problem, Willox says.
2012: Inuit communities and governments got together to figure out how to solve the climate change and mental health issue.
120 in-depth interviews of Inuit residents and health professionals done by Willcox and her team. Residents really liked the interviews.
Willox and team made a documentary film about how to gather data.
Final film is free online, tells story of Labrador Inuit culture and how things are changing.
Willox explains some of the history of Labrador such as intergenerational traumas. Some communities were reposessed by the government.
Lots of issues with suicide among youth among many other issues, she explains.
"Incredible beauty in the region... a sense of collectivity and a sense of pride."
"A very vibrant and a very complex place."
Willox talks about the land. She uses a quote from her documentary film: "For me the government is my land".
"With Inuit culture, language is based on the land." She explains that there is a deep connection that comes from the land.
Topic has changed to the ice in the Arctic: People need the ice because that's how they feed their families. They also need ice for their mental health.
Caraboo collapse in Labrador- Caraboo went from a population of 800,000 to 20,000. Inuit has lost this as a food source.
"The land is this grocery store of everything."
"If they can't go out on the land, they don't feel like people." WIllox explains that there is a deep sense of humanity when it comes to the land for Inuit People.
In the in-depth interviews WIllox took part in, people would describe how they felt. Some felt scared, some felt depressed- could not get out of bed for days because they could not face what was happening.
Land and climate both a direct and indirect stressor on Inuit.
"If I'm not Inuit and I don't have my identity, then maybe this is an option."- Willox quotes as she explains why suicide is so prominent in the North.
Health systems being hugely impacted in the North. Many health services burdened. Mental health systems in the North don't have a lot of resources on mental health.
Health workers themselves deal with their own stress plus they have to deal with other people's issues, Willox explains.
Inuit People have been advocating for their right to "be cold".
"Inuit are people of the sea ice. If there's no sea ice, how can we be people of the sea ice?" -quote from the documentary film
"Even though our stuff is sad, at the end of the day, people are still okay," Willox says about people in the North.
Where WIllox is at now: getting everyone to understand that this is not just and Inuit issue.
"There is something happening here that we need to talk about."
Willox says that the European commission is naming climate change and mental health as one of their main priorities.
To wrap up, Willox says "Nakummek", which means thank you. Crowd gives a warm round of applause.
She opens up the floor to questions.
WIllox agrees, but points out that the Canadian government has done a good job of spreading people out on the land.
Q: How do you navigate this tension when people claim certain parts of the land as trauma and others claim it in response to trauma?
Willox: "This question occupies my time all the time...I wish I had a really profound answer for you, but I don't. But I think about it all the time. If you have any insights, I'm open." She smiles.
Willox is thanked for her talk. The crowd applaudes her.