Mental Health in the North
Young leaders in the Jack.org network are building a movement to revolutionize mental health across Canada, and the Jack Summit program is the bedrock of their collaboration. However, youth in the North face particular challenges when it comes to connecting and collaborating due to large distances between their communities and the significant cost of travel.
Young people in the North also face unique barriers to positive mental health. The rate of suicide in the northern territories is much higher than in the rest of Canada—particularly in Nunavut, where the suicide rate is 10 times the Canadian average and people are three times as likely to experience severe depression. Indigenous youth are especially at risk: First Nations youth die by suicide five to six times more often than non-Aboriginal youth, and suicide rates for Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average among Canadian youth.
In October 2018, two of Jack.org's young leaders Shania and Shelby brought the first ever Northern Jack Summit to Yellowknife. It was an unprecedented opportunity for 50 young people to come together across all three territories to identify local mental health challenges and develop solutions for them. The Summit opened with a drum dance song, and delegates attended skill-building workshops to learn about using creative writing for mental health advocacy, speaking to the media, and burnout and resistance.
We received fantastic feedback from Northern Jack Summit delegates that underlines the importance of these regional opportunities for young people: 65% of delegates reported they gained the skills they need to make mental health change in their communities, and 88% said they left the Northern Jack Summit feeling more confident that together they can change the way their communities think about mental health.
Following the success of the 2018 Northern Jack Summit, five Jack.org young leaders in the North are organizing another Northern Jack Summit this year and we would love your support in helping to fund the experience for one of our 60 delegates!
Northern Jack Summit 2019
On October 19th, 2019, 60 young mental health advocates from Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon will come together in Yellowknife for a day of mental health education and collaboration.
At Northern Summit, local mental health and cultural leaders and Jack.org staff will deliver keynote presentations and educational workshops for delegates. The goal of these sessions is to help youth delegates better understand systemic issues impacting youth mental health in the North and build their skills to take concrete action in their communities.
Building on this foundation, youth organizers will facilitate collaboration sessions that give delegates a unique opportunity for deliberative discussion. They empower delegates to reflect on their experiences and share their expertise, surfacing priorities and solutions related to Northern youth mental health. Jack.org will draw on these findings to help our young leaders develop plans for action, and guide the national mental health movement. Fuel this movement and help send a delegate to the Northern Jack Summit by donating now!