Saturday, Oct. 21
15:45 – 16:45 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Port Alberni (4th floor – North Tower)
Varinder Dua*, MBBS, FRCPC; Sujata Ojha, MBBS, DMCH,FRANZCP; Ro’nikonkatste (Bill) Hill, RPN, BSW, MSW, RSW,
- Health Advocate
At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges and complexities of intergenerational trauma and mental health in Indigenous peoples; 2) Develop awareness and knowledge about Indigenous healing practices; and 3) Apply the emerging evidence related to using a two-eyed seeing approach, which uses Indigenous knowledge combined with Western medicine that paves the pathway, resulting in holistic health outcomes for Indigenous populations.
The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada is marred by oppression, loss of identity, racism, loss of culture, and loss of language, which has culminated in centuries of intergenerational trauma. This in turn has predisposed them to developing severe mental health and addiction challenges and other social determinants of health that adversely impact quality of life. This has led to a lack of trust and fear of reprisal, discrimination, and maltreatment by the very systems that have been set up to provide care. Hence, there is significant underuse and high rates of attrition with respect to the contemporary mental health services and treatments offered.
There is mounting evidence that braiding traditional Indigenous healing practices with care provided at hospitals has been more meaningful and improved Indigenous peoples’ experiences with mental health care and addictions. Validating and using their knowledge in tandem creates a sense of cultural safety and belonging in the community.
To deliver robust and effective care for severe and persistent mental illness, including addictions, evidence shows the need for Indigenous-led mental health services within hospital systems in Canada. This will result in Indigenous communities trusting services from hospitals because they are being treated by their own people, with culture and identity included in tandem with services from the hospital. Intergenerational trauma will require intergenerational healing; this can be achieved by including traditional Indigenous knowledge in the care being provided.
- Allen L, Hatala A, Ijaz S, et al. Indigenous-led health care partnerships in Canada. CMAJ 2020;192(9):E208–E216.
- Nelson SE, Wilson K. The mental health of Indigenous peoples in Canada: a critical review of research. Soc Sci Med 2017;176:93–112.