Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The 2020 study ‘ “We’re people of the snow”: Weather, climate change, and Inuit mental Wellness’, conducted by Inuit and non-Inuit researchers from various academic institutions across Canada has explored the intersection of climate change and mental health in Nunatsiavut. This study builds from research conducted through the IMHACC, and analyzes semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted with over 100 community members and local healthcare professionals. The interviews were Inuit-led and spanned five communities in the Nunatsiavut Land Claim Area. The organization of transcripts was facilitated by NVivo© software. Information from the interviews was then sorted and codified thematically through an iterative process involving many team members. Themes identified by this analysis broadly displayed that seasonal freeze-thaw cycles as well as climatic changes and unpredictable weather patterns are negatively affecting the mental health of those in the Nunatsiavut Land Claim Area. Other studies in the IMHACC such as ‘The land enriches the soul: On climatic and environmental change, affect, and emotional health and well-being in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Canada’ echo this finding within the context of individual locations. The research also identifies concerns related to community resilience should extreme weather events intensify and become more frequent (as is projected). The study has helped to clarify weather’s role “in both fostering and interrupting connection to place” in the context of climate change.