First Nations and Inuit mental health and wellness
Mental health and wellness include 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
- 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.
You can also connect with Hope for Wellness Help Line counsellors through the new online chat counselling service. (You will leave the Government of Canada website and access anonymous counselling services through a website hosted by the same Indigenous service provider operating the Help Line. This online chat counselling service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and French.)
For more long term care, contact a First Nations and Inuit Health Regional Office.
Factors influencing mental health
Many factors can influence your health, including your mental health. These are commonly known as the determinants of health. They include such things as how much money you make, how much education you have and your relationships with family and friends. Supportive relationships with family and friends can make you feel cared for, loved, esteemed and valued,.As a result, they 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 Indigenous peoples. A research project commissioned by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation found that the most common mental health diagnoses were post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse disorder and major depression. (Research Series, 2003)
Programs and services
Indigenous Services Canada is committed to helping First Nations and Inuit communities by funding mental health-related programs and services:
- Brighter Futures and Building Healthy Communities
- National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy
- National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program
- Non-Insured Health Benefits
- Indian Residential Schools Mental Health Support Program
- Jordan's Principle
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.
- 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.
- Centre for Suicide Prevention
Check out this link for more information on suicide prevention, and to learn about training opportunities.
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