The recent pandemic and global response have demonstrated the profound need to re-invest in critical public health initiatives and to dramatically increase mental health support for all people in Canada. Given the role of colonization and the substantial under-funding of health care services and social determinants of health such as housing and food security, Indigenous people in Canada are facing this pandemic without the necessary supports they require.
For Inuit, traditional ways continue despite colonial efforts to diminish them. On the land programs have become the most significant means by which Inuit can both protect themselves from becoming infected with COVID-19 and provide food for our families. This cultural practice is critical in order to ensure that Inuit can maintain their health and well-being.
During this crisis, we need to monitor and maintain not only our physical health but also our mental health. This is an unprecedented time. It’s only natural to expect that the continued physical distancing from family and loved ones will affect our stress levels and abilities to cope. It’s not weak to reach out and ask for assistance; strength comes from allowing others to help when it is needed.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments are providing health services and public information for all residents during this crisis. Land claim organizations and regional groups are also providing additional supports in Inuit communities. If you require assistance for COVID-19 related illness or other health concerns it is best to consult with your local health agency, municipal or city-run health line first. Inuit living in southern cities can access all provincial health services, as required.
See below for some links to national and regional physical and mental health resources for Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat and those living outside the region. You can also check our fact sheet on where and how to access support for food and other supports here: https://pauktuutit.ca/health/covid-19-resources
Where to turn for help Federal Government
The Government of Canada is providing a mental health resource hub for all Canadians: Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
Big White Wall is an anonymous online (English only) community where members can support each other 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
BounceBack is a free skill-building program that adults and youth 15+ can access over the phone for stress, anxiety and depression.
Newfoundland and Labrador https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/resources/
Indigenous peoples can contact Hope for Wellness for immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention across Canada. To get help:
- call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free)
- use the live web chat.Indigenous women can contact Talk 4 Healing for culturally appropriate and confidential support and resources seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Services are available in 14 languages.
- To get help:
- call or text 1-855-554-4325
- use the live web chat.
Inuit-specific COVID-19 health resources
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami https://www.itk.ca/what-we-do/covid19/
Here are some best practices to keep you, your family and your community safe from COVID-19
Government of Nunavut
Government of the Northwest Territories
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
Mental Health Commission of Canada
The Child First Initiative is administered by the Government of Canada to ensure Inuit children have access to the health, social and educational products, services and support they need.
For support at any time of day, children and youth up to age 25 can call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 to contact Kids Help Phone.
What is COVID-19?
Canadian COVID Tracker
What are the symptoms? How does it spread? What can I do to protect myself and others?
Public Health Agency of Canada
Questions and Answers – World Health Organization
What to do if you are sick
Indigenous-specific COVID-19 information
How can I get tested and what should I expect?
Scroll down for information by province.