Men increasing their health and well-being together
In 2015, SSHS introduced its Men’s Health Program. Traditionally, an underserved sector in First Nations health services, the Men’s Health Program has gained considerable traction since its inception.
The focal point of current Men’s Health programming is the Men’s Group. The group brings men from N̓Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin and Xax’sta First Nations together to gain traditional skills, build self-esteem and foster a sense of brotherhood. In its fist year, the self-directed group, facilitated by an SSHS nurse and two First Nations Men’s Group Leaders from N̓Quatqua and Líl̓wat Nation respectively, attracted more than 50 participants. The men involved in the program are gaining valuable skills such a log notching, traditional construction techniques and making fishing nets. To date, 24 group members have obtained their firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence though the Canadian Firearm Safety training program. The skills gained in the program will allow the men to participate in hunting and utilize the short cabins being built in 2017.
External enthusiasm for the Men’s Group has resulted in both significant funding fro the program and interest from other First Nations, including Squamish.
Men's Health Team
Nurse Matthew (Matt) Hall graduated with honours from the Bachelor of Science Nursing program at Sault College in 1992. After graduation, he pursued a career in Aboriginal healthcare and began working as an ER Nurse in the Cree community of Attawapiskat, Ontario. A rewarding but stressful experience, the job took its toll and Matt decided it was time to move on. In 2015, he joined the SSHS in the role of public health nurse. it was time to move on. After taking some time off the opportunity to work presented itself in the role of public health nurse. This began his relationship with the Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society. It has been his goal since then to help turn the ideas of the people into actions in order to promote health. Matt specializes in Men’s Health for SSHS.
Bio to come.
Men’s Group Leader Micah (Mick) Thevarge joined SSHS in 2016 to assist with the development of the group. A carpenter with more than 20 years experience, his previous experience with community development was in the area of youth leadership.
A large part of his role with Men's Health is reconnecting men with Traditional Territory through activities like fishing, hiking, mushrooming, firewood preparation and hunting. Mick feels incredibly fortunate to have the privilege if working of with the men of the communities that SSHS serves and sees the program’s early success as evidence of the great things to come.