What it means exactly to promote health and wellness in a one-day fair is difficult to answer.
Tracey Pope, acting director of client services with the Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services Authority, said it’s difficult to measure if an event like last week’s community health fair is actually improving anyone’s health, but it does give a tangible opportunity for people to connect.
For example, a high school student might have the chance to see what a physiotherapist does or talk one-on-one with a public health nurse, potentially opening career ideas.
For Pope, the event served as a great way for organizations in the region to network with each other.
“I think that we should probably be collaborating more,” she said. “For instance on substance abuse, it’s not just the RCMP dealing with that – the hospital’s dealing with it, justice is dealing with it.”
The event gathered dozens of organizations with booths in the Midnight Sun Complex Thursday, April 20. Participants also had the chance to engage in specialized sessions on mental health and play games like elder and youth indoor curling.
Emmanuel Ndumu is a social worker in Inuvik. He was promoting the opportunity for households to become foster homes.
“We need foster homes and we need foster families,” he said, even if it’s acting as a foster home for just one night.
He emphasized the importance of the foster family’s role in helping a child overcome an emotional period.
Ndumu was also spreading the message that social workers can help with personal well-being.
“Social work is not only about apprehending children or interfering in children’s welfare,” he said.
Meghan Etter, counselling services manager with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, was promoting Project Jewel, which runs on-the-land wellness programs throughout the year.
“Especially in this region, being on the land is just healing itself,” she said.
“What Project Jewel tries to do is take people to a place where they’re comfortable, which is the land, where they can connect with their culture and heritage.”
In that comfortable space, elders and other organizers help participants to discuss and work through whatever issues they may have.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has a lot of programs that people aren’t always aware of, she said. Etter advised people to visit the organization’s new website at www.irc.inuvialuit.com.
The health fair wrapped up with a feast and free swimming.