Peer Leader Mental Health Program

This is a 3-day workshop offered in Nunavut.  Every year about 40-50 youth attend.

Why are peer leaders needed?

Youth do not report incidences to the authorities because:

  • youth do not trust the social services and justice systems
  • youth do not believe that community services will help them heal from trauma
  • youth fear retaliation if they report incidences
  • youth worry that reporting incidences will cause further harm to their families

Teenaged youth who are considered “healthy” but are known to have experienced harm are being approached by other youth as a source of advice on “what to do next”.  Youth trust other youth as a safe way to share their stories (both historical and immediate incidences).

Our goal is to train these trusted teenagers how to help their friends.

This issue was identified during community consultations, meetings with Elders and youth, and surveys.

The Program provides:

  • Direct connections to the individuals who provide services in their community
  • Effective listening and communication skill development
  • Information on compassion fatigue, burnout and self care
  • Explains types of harm experienced, historical and cultural roots of trauma in Nunavut
  • Information on the legal duty to report and overview of the justice system

In 2018, the course will be available in Inuktitut and Innuinaqtun, and local facilitators will be trained in order to provide this program within communities. The course was developed in Nunavut and incorporates IQ principles and Inuit societal values.

From the youth:

“This program helped me understand what I was feeling and how I can help myself and others”

“It helped me realize that I actually want to go in a different direction for my studies”

“When you said you have to “Name your pain” before you can help others or bury it in drugs and alcohol, that really hit me. I have been going through some stuff at home and was drinking every night. You helped me to see I was going down a hurting path, but I don’t want to hurt myself. I want to be healthy for me and others!”