First Nations and Inuit Health Mental Health and Wellness
Mental health and wellness encompass both the mental and emotional aspects of being - how you think and feel. Some signs of good mental health include:
- Knowing and taking pride in who you are;
- Enjoying life;
- Being able to form and maintain satisfying relationships;
- Coping with stress in a positive way;
- Striving to realize your potential; and
- Having a sense of personal control.
If you're experiencing emotional distress and want to talk, call the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310. It's toll-free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more long term care, contact a First Nations and Inuit Health Regional Office.
Factors Influencing Mental Health
So many factors can influence your health, including your mental health. These factors are commonly known as the determinants of health and include such things as how much money you make, how much education you have and your relationships with family and friends. For instance, supportive relationships with family and friends can make you feel cared for, loved, esteemed and valued, and as a result, have a protective effect on your health. (World Health Organization, 2003)
Historical determinants, such as the legacy of residential schools, are believed to have shaped the mental health of Aboriginal people. A research project commissioned by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation found that 75 percent of the case files for a sample of Aboriginal residential school survivors contained mental health information with the most common mental health diagnoses being post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse disorder and major depression. (Research Series, 2003)
Programs and Services
Health Canada is committed to assisting First Nations and Inuit communities to achieve better health with several mental health-related programs and services:
Resources and Links
Check out our resources and links for more information on:
Mental Health and Wellness
- First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework - Summary Report
A coordinated, comprehensive approach to mental health and addictions programming, which respects the model of whole health - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and economic well-being.
- Canadian Mental Health Association
Check out this link to access a wide array of mental health-related information and resources.
- Canadian Psychological Association's Your Health: 'Psychology Works' Fact Sheets
This Web site offers a wealth of information on a variety of mental health-related topics, such as parenting, relationships, grief, gambling, suicide, insomnia, depression, etc.
- National Aboriginal Health Organization
- Stop Family Violence
- Aboriginal Youth: A Manual of Promising Suicide Prevention Strategies
This report discusses promising strategies that can be used at the community, school and family level for preventing suicide among Aboriginal youth.
- Acting on What We Know: Preventing Youth Suicide in First Nations
This report sheds light on some of the root causes of suicide and presents recommendations to reverse the alarming trend among First Nations youth in Canada.
- Assessment and Planning Tool Kit for Suicide Prevention in First Nations Communities (PDF version)
This resource can give you the tools you need to assess your community and develop a plan to prevent suicide.
- Centre for Suicide Prevention
Check out this link for more information on suicide prevention, and to learn about training opportunities.
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