"We're people of the snow:" Weather, climate change, and Inuit mental wellness.

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From: Social Science & Medicine(Vol. 262)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report
Length: 418 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Climate change; Inuit; Mental wellness; Mental health; Weather; Seasonality; Nunatsiavut; Circumpolar Abstract Rapid environmental change due to climate change impacts Inuit mental wellness by altering the relationships between people, place, livelihoods, and culture. Little is known, however, about how fluctuations in weather contribute to the experience of place and the connection to mental wellness in Inuit communities. This study aimed to characterize the importance of changes in weather among Inuit, and how these changes influence mental health and wellness in the context of climate change. Data were drawn from a community-driven and Inuit-led study in the Nunatsiavut region of Labrador, Canada. In-depth interviews (n = 116 people) were conducted between November 2012 to May 2013 in the five Nunatsiavut communities. Qualitative data were thematically analyzed using a constant comparative method. Results indicated that weather impacted mental wellness through three key pathways: 1) shaping daily lived experiences including connection to place and other determinants of wellbeing; 2) altering mood and emotion on a transient basis; and 3) seasonally influencing individual and community health and wellbeing. These results demonstrate the immediate role weather has in shaping mental wellness in Nunatsiavut. In turn, this understanding of the climate-mental wellness relationship points to multiple pathways for action on climate adaptation policy and programming, and underscores the need for more culturally-specific and place-based investigations to appropriately respond to the mental health impacts of climate change. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road E, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada (b) School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 116 St. and 85 Ave., Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2R3, Canada (c) Labrador Institute of Memorial University, 219 Hamilton River Road, P.O. Box 490, Stn. B, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0P 1E0, Canada (d) Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, 300 Prince Philip Drive, St. John's, NL, A1B 3V6, Canada (e) Torngat Wildlife, Plants, and Fisheries Secretariat, 217 Hamilton River Road, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0P 1C0, Canada (f) Department of Health and Social Development, Nunatsiavut Government, 218 Kelland Drive, P.O. Box 496, Station C, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0P 1C0, Canada * Corresponding author. Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road E., Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada. Article History: Revised 23 January 2020; Accepted 8 June 2020 Byline: Jacqueline Middleton [jmiddl03@uoguelph.ca] (a,b,*), Ashlee Cunsolo [ashlee.cunsolo@mun.ca] (c,d,**), Andria Jones-Bitton (a), Inez Shiwak (e), Michele Wood (f), Nathaniel Pollock (b,d), Charlie Flowers (e), Sherilee L. Harper [sherilee.harper@ualberta.ca] (a,b,***)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A640393774