The purpose of Supporting Wellbeing is to provide tools, resources and tips for people who deliver land-based programming that will better prepare them to mitigate and respond to mental health challenges in remote environments. This training is designed for people who have some level of experience in planning and delivering on-the-land programs, but who have little-to-no formal or clinical training in mental health service provision. Learners will be introduced to several topics to consider when planning and delivering trauma-informed on-the-land programs, including topics like colonization and trauma, camp set up, and participant after care. This curriculum was developed in response to an identified need in the Northwest Territories to equip on-the-land program leaders with tools to support mental and emotional wellness on the land.
Supporting Wellbeing blends clinically researched practices in mental health group work with Indigenous practices and expertise. The foundation of the training process is relational practices with individuals, families, Elders, community, the land, and other living beings. Following the principle of holistic health, relationality operates at both the individual and the collective level.
This is an experiential training program designed to deepen learners’ understanding of wellbeing and how to support participants’ wellbeing during on the land programs. Learners engage in hands-on learning activities, such as role-playing, circles, case studies, and guided self-reflection. Therefore, giving learners practice and tools to respond to and manage mental health challenges on their future land-based programs.
In 2018, on the land leaders and mental health professionals gathered to discuss challenges in delivering land-based programming. A theme that emerged was that even as the land is vital to wellbeing, on the land programs in the NWT are led and attended by people who have experienced complex trauma and it is not uncommon for people leading on the land programs to encounter challenging situations, including people experiencing distressing emotions or mental health challenges. The group agreed that creating a made-in-NWT training program to enhance the capacity of land-based programmers to respond to these situations was critical. Supporting Wellbeing was created to address this need.
Upon completion of Supporting Wellbeing, learners will be able to:
Describe the necessary considerations required for organizing and setting up a trauma-informed on the land program while respecting local Indigenous cultural practices and beliefs.
Facilitate group discussions on consent, boundaries, group values and norms.
Identify the nature of and respond to conflict using a conflict resolution process
Respond to people experiencing suicidal ideation using suicidal intervention steps.
Demonstrate an understanding of the traumatic impacts of colonization and various trauma responses.
Identify and access local professional mental health supports for their on the land program participants and staff when needed.
Explain the importance of and create a self-care plan that prevents or lessens the risks of burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma.