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'Mental wellness in Canada's Aboriginal communities striving toward reconciliation


Summary Writing

 In the article 'Mental wellness in Canada's Aboriginal communities striving toward reconciliation', Boksa et al (363) review the mental health challenges facing the aboriginal people in Canada and assert that as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission  increase the efforts to promote mutual understanding and respect, the mental health professionals should be  involved in promoting the mental-wellbeing of these people. In general, European colonization is a harrowing tale that made Aboriginal people experience disadvantage in all realms. As the TRC prepares to provide health and cultural support, the mental health professionals should not be left behind but they should work collaboratively to promote mental wellness.

 The psychological sufferings began in 1883 until the mid-1980s when the Canadian government established residential schools where aboriginal people could learn Euro-Christian values and adapt the Canadian society. While in the residential school, children were severely published, and experienced mental, physical and sexual abuse. A governmental agency that deals with Indian affairs reported that …aboriginal are to be kept in a condition of tutelage and treated as wards or children of the State… (Boksa et al. 363)". The European settlers argued that aboriginal people were ignorant and thus, needed civilization. Thus, all children aged 7-15 were isolated from the parents and guardians and forced to attend the school to learn new ways of living.

  The living conditions in the residential school was also a contributing factor to the mental problem in the aboriginal communities. The separation between children and their parents resulted in disruptions of family traditions. As a result, children and youth became involved in antisocial behaviors such as the use of illicit drugs (Boksa et al. 364). In society, adults were suffering from extreme poverty, poor health, lack of security, and unemployment which all contributed to mental problems

   In many ways, aboriginal people have suffered from depression but some individuals have a higher level of mental disorder than others. For example, suicide rates among Aboriginal youth is higher. This is because of the historian factors such as loss of lands and suppression of belief systems while some groups have resiliency such as cultural continuity (Boksa et al. 364). For this reason, First Nations have created a partnership that aims at promoting mental health.

However, Aboriginal people may not access mental health services due to stigma and discrimination. For the mental wellness program to work, mental health workers should understand the traumatic experiences that Aboriginal people went through and after understanding the past and current challenges, they should provide mental support through training and respectful collaborations (Boksa et al. 365). For mental health professionals to provide quality services, the government at all levels should provide funding. 


It is with no doubt that the Aboriginal people in Canada experienced intergenerational trauma- Aboriginal experienced untreated trauma not only during the colonization period but many years later. The mental health professionals should work proactively and collaboratively with the reconciliation commission to create a healthier future by providing metal health services and promoting mutual recognition and respect





Work cited

Boksa, Patricia, Ridha Joober, and Laurence J. Kirmayer. "Mental wellness in Canada’s

Aboriginal communities: striving toward reconciliation." Journal of psychiatry &

neuroscience: JPN 40.6 (2015): 363.


531 Words  1 Pages
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