Indigenous Mental Health Support Circle

The Cause

Inuvik Native Band is the Indian Act Band responsible for approximately 640 registered Indigenous Status members. Many of our indigenous members have difficulty in confronting their mental health needs with western style medicine and support people through the existing mechanisms in place. We believe that if we can offer, as part of our Cultural Area, the ability to provide local Indigenous Seniors and Elders to be available to provide historical traditional mental health advice and daily or weekly guidance to these particular individuals, it may be more beneficial, relaxing and accepting to the individuals to engage and to work on their mental health needs.

Many of our members face a variety of obstacles to moving forward in working through their mental health needs, and it causes them to continue in detrimental ways with various substance abuse as ways of coping, but really continuing to languish in the pains and on-going issues which affect their well being. We feel that if we can offer this alternative approach, it may assist them to become more capable of transitioning into the more western approaches of working with themselves, using the existing systems which offer more clinically accepted ways to deal, head-on with their issues and personal limitations.

Who Will it Benefit?

This approach and availability will directly benefit the individual member(s), as they work with the Elder and himself, through a process guided by the Elder on a personal level. Many of our members suffer with mental health issues, and need attention, but as previously stated, are uncomfortable and leery of speaking with others like Counselors, Social Workers, etc., and prefer to use our own Elders.

Elders exude confidence, knowledge, empathy and understanding, are consoling and guiding, and the members will be more at ease, more relaxed, and more willing to speak to and with the Elders and trust in their suggestions and guidance to help them develop a confidence level and an acceptance that they are like anyone else, who have issues and should not be afraid or scared to acknowledge that fact.