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Jan 25, 2024
A message from Dr. Nolan Hop Wo, Medical Officer, Mental Health & Wellness, Office of the Chief Medical Officer; and Duanna Johnston-Virgo, Executive Director, Mental Health & Wellness, Community Health & Wellness
The month of January is often seen as a fresh start in a new year, which makes it a good time to set health goals, including in the area of mental health.
At the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), mental health is as important as physical, spiritual and emotional health. This wholistic way of thinking is included in the First Nations Medicine Wheel and expanded on in the First Nations Perspective on Health and Wellness.
There is much to learn from these First Nations wholistic approaches to wellness, which teach that all aspects of health are interconnected. This teaching can sometimes be lacking in Western medicine, which can view mental health as separate from emotional, spiritual, and especially physical health.
With this in mind, here are some of the ways we as Indigenous people can nurture our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.
Mental Health Resources & Supports
You can find many culturally safe resources and supports here.
If you need help with mental health and wellness challenges, there are several supports and services available to you, including a First Nations virtual psychiatry service that provides individuals with access to specialists in psychiatry and mental health and wellness care coordinators. As well, if needed, the service has specialists in addictions medicine who can refer you to treatment centres in BC that are familiar with integrating both traditional First Nations teachings and medicines with Western-style approaches.
Here is a map of mental health providers that have met the eligibility criteria for coverage under FNHA’s First Nations Health Benefits and Services.
To find resources in your area, you can also contact your local Canadian Mental Health Association branch at www.cmha.ca/get-involved/find-your-cmha/, your local crisis centre for suicide prevention at www.suicideprevention.ca/in-crisis-now/find-a-crisis-centre-now/, or call 211 / visit www.211.ca.