Our Story

Supporting Wellbeing is made in the North by the North for the North.
Training on trauma-informed care, and effective responses and mitigation skills for mental health challenges before, during, and after land-based programs.

Supporting Wellbeing was born out of a community-identified need.

In 2018, NWT Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA) and Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı/Sahtú Renewable Resources Board brought together on the land leaders and mental health professionals to discuss challenges in delivering land-based programming. While 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 these programs to have to deal with their own distressing emotions.

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.

Photo: Anneka Westergreen

Putting the team together

In 2019, the NWTRPA hired a new On The Land Programs Consultant, Rachel Cluderay, who read the report about the meeting and was instantly inspired to make this training program happen. Rachel has experienced program participants being in distress, and feeling unprepared to support them. These experiences inspired Rachel to reach out to Jimmy Ruttan and Kristen Tanche, who also had land based programming experience, to see if they were interested in moving forward with this work. Jimmy and Kristen joined the Steering Committee to found Supporting Wellbeing.

In early 2020, we put out a call for steering committee applications and brought together an amazing team of on the land leaders, including Kristen Tanche (Dehcho First Nations), Jimmy Ruttan (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation), Mandee McDonald (Dene Nahjo), Jennie Vandermeer (Hotii ts’eeda/Sahtú), Anneka Westergreen (Fireweed Counselling/GNWT HSS), and Tammy Steinwand (Tłı̨chǫ Government).

Learn more about the Supporting Wellbeing team

Developing the curriculum

We spent the year developing a curriculum with Donald Prince virtually. Then launched our pilot training in March 2021 in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The pilot was a huge success and reinforced that there is a need for this training. After the pilot, Noel-Leigh Cockney joined the committee.

Learn more about Supporting Wellbeing Training

Building our capacity

In March 2022, Supporting Wellbeing was awarded the $500,000 category of the Arctic Inspiration Prize. Supporting Wellbeing grew to be much bigger than originally envisioned, and thus became a project of MakeWay’s Shared Platform to provide more autonomy over the program.

Learn more about our sponsors and supporters

Today and beyond

Today, we are guided by a Steering Committee and Advisory Council comprised of Northern on the land leaders and are working towards delivering this training in every community in the North.

Strategic Plan

Learn more about how we work

Photo: Anneka Westergreen