The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) held a successful workshop on the project “the Evidence Base for Promoting Mental Wellness and Resilience to Address Suicide in Circumpolar Communities” in May in Tromsø, Norway. The two-day event brought together research teams, Permanent Participants, community members, academics and government officials.

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The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) held a successful workshop on “the Evidence-Base for Promoting Mental Wellness and Resilience to Address Suicide in Circumpolar Communities” project on May 26-27, 2014 in Tromsø, Norway. 

The two-day event was hosted by the Government of Norway and involved approximately 35 participants, representing  a variety of stakeholders including research teams, indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, community members, academics, government officials and the Arctic Council Secretariat.

The project builds on the outcomes and recommendations from the 2009 Nuuk Seminar on Hope and Resilience. It is a priority initiative of Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship and is being co-led by Canada, Norway, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Russian Federation, the United States and Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada).  The ultimate goal is to enable communities across the Arctic States to develop new and/or improved initiatives to increase the mental wellness and resilience of circumpolar peoples. Deliverables for this project include: a synthesis report of operational evidence and recommendations; an inventory of promising interventions being implemented in Arctic States; and, a symposium in March 2015.

The Tromsø workshop had four primary objectives: (1) share best practices amongst teams; (2) provide networking opportunities for teams, international partners, community representatives and the Arctic Council’s Permanent Participants; (3) enable the research teams and government representatives to obtain guidance from community representatives and hear from key experts; and, (4) enable the research teams to plan and optimize their research activities.   

At the conclusion of the workshop there was agreement that the session had been very informative and constructive. As a result of the progress, the research teams were able to develop a concrete work plan for the remainder of the initiative and workshop participants left Tromsø with confidence that the project will build upon the existing knowledge base and provide Arctic communities with the information they require in order to develop tools to address mental wellness and strengthen community resilience.

Photo: Arctic Council