A holistic approach to mental health and community wellbeing: Exploring historical trauma with Indigenous youth and families through the use of Indigenous and qualitative research methods

In Canada, poor mental health among Indigenous youth is an ongoing issue. This leads to high rates of suicide, addiction, violence, chronic diseases and chronic pain. A potential reason for these challenges is historical trauma linked to government policies intended to eliminate Indigenous cultures, including residential schools, the 'sixties scoop' and the child welfare system.

With Indigenous families in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Dr. Cooper will explore how people understand historical trauma, mental health and abuse. With participants, she will also explore experiences with current mental health programs and interventions. The focus will be on strengths and challenges experienced by First Nations parents and youth aged 11-14.

Indigenous and qualitative arts-based approaches will be used to unpack key themes related to mental health and community wellbeing, and participants will help guide the creation of resources that will aim to improve health within Indigenous families and communities.