North In Focus

North In Focus

North in Focus (NIF) is a youth-run organization that leads mental health promotion workshops. The goal of the workshops is to decrease suicide in Northern Canadian communities. The organization works to increase basic mental health knowledge and connect individuals to available resources, as well as introduce methods of self-expression and self-care. The NIF experience combines peer education and anti-stigma programming with art, physical recreation, and reflection activities.


The workshops that the organization facilitates directly engages youth over age 12 in Canadian Arctic and Subarctic communities. In addition, NIF contributes to healthy and supportive environments by aiming to reduce stigma and connect individuals to local mental health resources. Furthermore, re-connecting individuals to their culture through programming is seen as a necessary addendum to the increased use of conventional resources (ie. doctors and counsellors for promoting mental wellness).

To date, NIF has facilitated workshops in Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik and Nain, Nunatsiavut. The organization has also produced “Northern Lights,” a documentary about the perspectives on mental health in Nunavik. Most recently, NIF coordinators Eva Wu and Ashley Cummings presented at the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly and represented Northern and Canadian youth in the Emerging Leaders Platform, meeting with Canadian influencers and policy makers, including Minister of CIRNA Carolyn Bennett, Ambassador Stephane Dion, filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril amongst others. The NIF-led project Nunavut, Our Land, Our People is a finalist of the 2017 Arctic Inspiration Prize, in the $100,000 Youth category, with results being announced on January 31, 2018. North in Focus was the past recipients of the POLAR and Sophie and Tarek Inspiration grants through Students on Ice.

The Gang

Ashley Cummings – Ashley is the Northern Consultant, Alumni/Ambassador Coordinator for North in Focus, a youth-run and -centered organization focusing on mental health stigma and suicide reduction in the Canadian North. Hailing from Pangnirtung and Iqaluit, NU, her colourful background of living in both Northern and Southern Canada provides her with a unique perspective and drive to bridge gaps between regions. Ashley is a proud Inuit youth who is passionate about sharing her culture and supporting others. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English at Mount Allison University and aims to become a mental health counsellor in her home region of Nunavut.

Eva Wu – Eva is a Co-Founder as well as the Finance and Media Coordinator of North in Focus, a student from Toronto Ontario at McGill University pursuing a Honours Bachelor’s degree in Renewable Resource Management. Presently on top of her involvement with NIF, she is one of two Parks Canada Youth Ambassadors during the program’s sixth year of operation. Her primary interests relate to stimulating dialogue by sharing stories using various forms of digital and written media contributes greatly towards the development of NIF as an organization. Her experiences with youth engagement and content creation, as well as her extensive engagement in Arctic affairs through research, councils, and conferences enables her skills and knowledge to translate into successful delivery of the proposed plan, with capacity building and organization development being at the forefront of the project. Eva will be managing the budget, content creation, and partnership negotiations.

Gabrielle Foss – Gabi is a Co-Founder as well as the Communications Coordinator of North in Focus. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, she is currently studying at the Ivey Business School at Western University, pursuing an Honours in Business Administration with a focus on corporate sustainability. Her interests relate to physical and mental wellness promotion through entrepreneurship and outdoor adventure. She shares her skills in communication and team management with NIF. Her experiences with program development and facilitation, particularly for young people, have allowed her contribute to NIF’s past projects. Gabi will serve as a liaison between the core team, partners, and the Board of Advisors.

For more information on North in Focus, please visit us at, and like us on Facebook at


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This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.

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