Looking back, moving forward: a culture-based framework to promote mental wellbeing in Manitoba First Nations communities

Grace Kyoon-Achan, Wanda Philips-Beck, Josée Lavoie, Rachel Eni, Stephanie Sinclair, Kathi Avey Kinew, Naser Ibrahim, Alan Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In Canada, high rates of anxiety, depression and suicides have resulted in mental health crises in First Nation (FN) communities. To date, Indigenous worldviews and approaches have not been fully heeded in mainstream strategies to address the complexity of living in colonial oppression, despite ongoing crises for decades. We describe perspectives of eight FN communities explaining cultural facilitators of mental wellbeing. The objective is to promote understanding of wellbeing in the context of sociocultural realities of FN communities and elaborate community-based practices. Qualitative methods involved FN partners in study design, implementation and data interpretation processes. Local research assistants collected data in all participating communities. Respondents were purposefully selected, Elders were recommended based on their knowledge of FN cultures and traditional wellness practices and awareness of health and social issues in respective communities. Results challenge specific histories of dispossession and assaults on community, language, identity, Elders, family; traditional healing practices emerged as important in enhancing mental wellbeing among FN. Culturally informed approaches aim to restore balance and harmony as pre-requisite to health. A framework based on the voices of FN in Manitoba is proposed for achieving mental wellbeing by and for FN people as an integral part of primary healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Culture and Mental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • First Nations
  • Mental wellbeing
  • community-based care
  • cultural perspectives
  • indigenous knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Looking back, moving forward: a culture-based framework to promote mental wellbeing in Manitoba First Nations communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this