Perspectives on Brain Development and First Nations Mental Health
Disparities in health and mental health among Indigenous peoples living in Canada are striking. However, there is limited capacity to clinically support in partnership with communities in a manner that is culturally- and contextually-appropriate. It can be argued that mainstream services do not meet the cultural and contextual needs of Indigenous communities because they do not allow for Indigenous communities to determine how services will be developed and provided (Dell et al., 2012). Identifying overarching needs across Indigenous cultures also requires recognition of the unique histories that influence health needs (Redding & Wynne, 2007). One important factor for consideration in treatment development is the underlying conceptual models that direct treatment. Many Indigenous communities in Canada view health and mental wellness as holistic concepts, understood as a balance between physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual domains of health (Health Canada, 2011, Honouring Our Strengths [HOS]; MWCF, 2015). This presentation will discuss considerations that respect culture-based knowledge and community priorities but utilizes the best of Indigenous and scientific methods when engaging with Indigenous people.