The Arctic Youth Wellbeing Network’s fifth virtual forum was held on October 29 with guest speaker Jon Petter Stoor, Pikku-Nilsá Ánde Biehtár!

In this session, participants learned about Jon Petter’s research focusing on men’s mental health in Sápmi and the Arctic. He talked about the importance of ensuring that Saami have access to strong language and cultural supports in order to increase resilience in the face of mental health issues. 

We also participated in a sharing circle around the value of incorporating cultural practices into suicide prevention strategies. Participants discussed how (re)connection to one’s culture has the potential to provide deep meaning and purpose, which can in turn generate resiliency and contribute to mental wellbeing among individuals and their communities. 

Jon Petter shared two music videos during his presentation that speak to these concepts:

  • Ahpi – Sofia Jannok –
  • Jon Henrik Fjallgren – Manne Leam Frihhe:

Jon Petter Stoor, Pikku-Nilsá Ánde Biehtár (he/him) is a Sámi/Swedish licensed clinical psychologist and researcher (PhD) born and raised in the city of Giron/Kiruna and Laeváš Sámi reindeer herding community in Arctic Sweden. 

Petter’s research interests mainly concern Sámi health, with main focus on mental health, suicide and prevention of suicide among Sámi, particularly great interest for Indigenous peoples health in the Arctic and men, in Norway and Sweden. He has worked on psychosocial health issues on behalf of the Sámi Parliament in Sweden and written a plan for suicide prevention among Sámi, on behalf of SANKS and the Saami Council. In 2017-18 he was an appointed member of the commision that developed a proposal for ethical guidelines in Sámi health research in Norway that was accepted and turned into policy. 

Petter has also been engaged in international suicide prevention projects for Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, through the Arctic councils work group for sustainable development (SDWG). He makes sure as a researcher in the field of Indigenous peoples health, he remains aware of the need for collaboration with the Indigenous peoples, by collaborating with Sámi non-governmental organizations.