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:

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 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.

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