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Indigenous Mental Health

Updated: May 1, 2020



"Around the world, Indigenous peoples have experienced rapid culture change, marginalization, and absorption into a global economy with little regard for their autonomy" •The Mental Health of Indigenous Peoples ~Laurence J. Kirmayer Montreal, January 2001

"Canada’s Indigenous population, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people, comprises 4.3% of the general population. Despite representing a fraction of the population, the suicide rate among Indigenous youth aged 15-24 is 5 to 6 times the rate seen in the general Canadian population; this rate is especially high among Inuit youth, at 11 times the national average.(1,2) Suicide and self-inflicted injury is the leading cause of death among First Nation youth aged 15-24, whereas in the general youth population it is accidental death.(2) An example which speaks to the urgency of this issue is the number of suicide attempts in northern communities, such as in the Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario." •Mental Health and Suicide in Indigenous Communities in Canada ~Ryan Giroux, University of Toronto, National Officer of Indigenous Health 2014-2016 ~Kai Homer, University of Alberta ~Shez Kassam, University of Alberta ~Tamara Pokrupa, University of Ottawa ~Jennifer Robinson, McGill University ~Amanda Sauvé, Western University, National Officer of Indigenous Health 2016-2017 ~Alison Sumner, University of Toronto See also: https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/aboriginal-mental-health-stati… •Most research addresses colonialism; more nuanced approaches are recommended. •Overemphasis of substance use problems and suicide can have negative implications. •Mental health services developed by Indigenous communities are most effective. •Inuit are overrepresented in research; Métis are drastically underrepresented. •Urban and off-reserve Indigenous populations are dramatically underrepresented.


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