The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified many of the existing inequities and disparities already experienced in Indigenous communities. As the Hub recently heard from Dr. Brenda Restoule, CEO of the First Peoples Wellness Circle and a member of the Hub’s Leadership Team, it’s “all hands on deck” in First Nations communities to ensure the safety and welfare of its people. Her recent experiences reinforce the high demand for information and supports that take into account the many unique and intersecting issues faced by these communities (e.g., food insecurity, poor mental health, substance abuse, violence, youth isolation).
Both Brenda and the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) shared some links that may provide useful context and resources for MHP-IF projects who partner with or aim to engage Indigenous organizations and communities in their work.
- First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) is offering live-streamed Town Hall information and Q&A sessions every Thursday (1-2pm EDT) related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch them live or archived on Indigenous Health Today. These Town Halls are free and open to all health managers, front line health workers, First Nation Community members and the general public. The recording from the April 16th Town Hall may be of particular interest as it included youth leaders talking about the impacts on youth and opportunities to support and engage youth in addressing COVID-19.
- We Matter is an Indigenous youth-led and nationally registered organization dedicated to Indigenous youth support, hope and life promotion. Visit their website to learn more about their work to gather Indigenous youth voices and stories, create spaces for conversations around mental wellness, disseminate toolkits to support Indigenous youth and those who work with Indigenous youth, and build Indigenous youth capacity in schools and communities through Indigenous youth-led initiatives and peer-to-peer support.
- Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples’ Mental Health and Well-being during COVID-19 is one part of the NCCIH’s podcast series titled Voices from the Field. This episode, featuring Dr. Chris Mushquash, focuses on some of the mental health stresses that may affect First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as a result of the pandemic and offers up practices to support their mental health and well-being during this public health emergency.
- Online resources for Indigenous communities: Mental Wellness and COVID-19 was developed by Indigenous Services Canada to provide a snapshot of current examples of mental wellness resources developed for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations, including some regionally specific and youth specific resources.
- The Urban Indigenous Response to COVID-19 webinar was hosted by Dr. Suzanne Stewart, Director of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health – Waakebiness Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health. The purpose was to share information regarding Indigenous knowledges, resources, and services, and support urban Indigenous community networks. The process and information of the webinar was informed by Traditional Knowledges Keepers (Elders, Healers, Teachers) and Indigenous health experts.
We offer this as a selective list of resources to guide or adapt plans to promote Indigenous mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Please share other resources, ideas and questions with other MHP-IF projects on the Hub’s online discussion forum. Indigenous mental health is a strong and important area of shared interest among projects.
Stay safe, stay healthy and we look forward to continuing this (and other) conversations together.
On behalf of the KDE Hub Secretariat