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First Nations & Inuit Health

Mental Health and Wellness

totemMental health and wellness encompass both the mental and emotional aspects of being - 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; and
  • Having a sense of personal control.

Did you know...?

  • Thirty percent of First Nations people have felt sad, blue or depressed for two or more weeks. (First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey, 2005)
  • Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age. (A Statistical Profile on the Health of First Nations in Canada for the Year 2000, Health Canada, 2003)
  • First Nations youth commit suicide about five to six times more often than non-Aboriginal youth.
    • The suicide rate for First Nations males is 126 per 100,000 compared to 24 per 100,000 for non-Aboriginal males.
    • For First Nations females, the suicide rate is 35 per 100,000 compared to only 5 per 100,000 for non-Aboriginal females. (Canadian Institute of Child Health, 2000)
  • Suicide rates for Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average

If you or somebody you know feels depressed and needs help, contact the First Nations and Inuit Health Regional Office. They can help put you in touch with someone to talk to.

Factors Influencing Mental Health

So many factors can influence your health, including your mental health. These factors are commonly known as the Next link will take you to another Web site determinants of health and include such things as how much money you make, how much education you have and your relationships with family and friends. For instance, supportive relationships with family and friends can make you feel cared for, loved, esteemed and valued, and as a result, 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 Aboriginal people. A research project commissioned by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation found that 75 percent of the case files for a sample of Aboriginal residential school survivors contained mental health information with the most common mental health diagnoses being post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse disorder and major depression. (Research Series, 2003)

Programs and Services

Health Canada is committed to assisting First Nations and Inuit communities to achieve better health with several mental health-related programs and services:

Resources and Links

Some of the hyperlinks provided are to sites of organizations or other entities that are not subject to the Next link will take you to another Web site Official Languages Act. The material found there is therefore in the language(s) used by the sites in question.

Check out our resources and links for more information on:

Mental Health and Wellness

Suicide Prevention

Program Design