Centering Indigenous Voices to Inform the Delivery of Culturally-Appropriate Mental Wellness Services
Calls to Action
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AbstractColonization and ongoing colonial policies and practices have shaped a mental healthcare system rooted in racism. A systemic lack of awareness and response to the transhistorical impacts of colonization have resulted in the perpetuation of mental wellness services that are not culturally-appropriate. Utilizing an anti-colonial theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to explore if Indigenous peoples were receiving mental wellness supports that were responsive to their needs. A storytelling methodology was used with five participants from permanent supportive housing (PSH) buildings to share their experiences of mental wellness including homelessness and alcohol use. The stories revealed profound resistance to ongoing colonization. Further analysis of stories identified the absence of available supports, cultural connection, and supportive staff relationships in PSH buildings. Together, these results suggest participants are not receiving mental wellness supports that are culturally-appropriate. Using the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action as a framework for change, agencies can actively work towards providing culturally-appropriate mental wellness supports by: 1) increasing the availability of supports; 2) ensuring access to culture and connection; 3) re-evaluating hiring policies; 4) providing ongoing training; and 5) transforming to relationship-based care. Ultimately, this shift towards anti-colonial mental wellness services will result in disrupting colonial systems, policies, and practices; however, without the leadership and self-determination of Indigenous peoples themselves, there will be no real change in the provision of culturally-appropriate services.
CitationZaretsky, L. (2021). Centering Indigenous Voices to Inform the Delivery of Culturally-Appropriate Mental Wellness Services (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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