Movember Circumpolar is a partnership of organizations from across the circumpolar North, funded by the Movember Foundation. Our project partners are focused on improving mental wellness in northern communities through the use of land-based programming and they include organizations from Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The goal of this three-year project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs and to share those findings with the global community.
Within Canada, there is a North-South disparity in the impact of mental health issues, including suicide, suicidal behaviour, and addictions, on individuals and communities. Indigenous male youth are disproportionately affected, with suicide rates from 3 to 11 times higher than their non-Indigenous peers. The disparity appears to arise from a context of broader social inequality, and its magnitude underscores the need for action.
Recent research has began to focus on identifying protective and resiliency factors, such as the ability to cope with stress, social support, work satisfaction, self-esteem, and a mastery of skills, which are considered helpful to improving mental health. In a Northern Circumpolar context, factors such as cultural revitalization, connectedness to parents and role models, and learning and practising culture appear to contribute positively to mental health and wellbeing.
It is against this backdrop that we have embarked on this project to improve the mental health of Indigenous boys and men in Northern Canada, and to contribute to the evidence base for land-based programs.