Mental health and wellness in First Nations and Inuit communities
Understand positive mental health and the factors that can influence it. Access programs and services to improve your mental health and help prevent suicide in Indigenous communities.
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Mental health and wellness
Mental health and wellness include both the mental and emotional aspects of being such as 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, contact the toll-free Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca 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
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:
Raising awareness and reducing stigma
Increased awareness of mental health and wellness can reduce stigma for those who need to access mental health support.