MENTAL HEALTH TOOLKIT

FOR TEACHERS OF INDIGENOUS STUDENTS

PURPOSE

WHAT IT INCLUDES

First Nations (status and non-status peoples), the Inuit and Métis are collectively referred to as Indigenous people in Canada. 

Indigenous people in Canada have some of the highest suicide rates in the worldous peoples. Historically, suicide was a very rare occurrence amongst First Nations and Inuit (Kirmayer, 2007). It was only after contact with Europeans and the subsequent effects of colonialism that suicide became prevalent. 

This tool kit is a resource that compiles information about Indigenous youth and their heightened risk of mental illness and suicide. 

statistics
  • In the 2006 Census, a total of 1,172,790 people in Canada identified themselves as Indigenous people.

  • A National Household Survey in 2011 showed that 1,400,685 people in Canada identified themselves as Indigenous persons (Statistics Canada, 2013).

  • Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2016)

  • Approximately 46% of all Indigenous children are under 25 years of age (Statistics Canada, 2012)

  • The suicide rate for First Nations male youth (age 15-24) is 126 per 100,000 compared to 24 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous male youth

  • For First Nations females, the suicide rate is 35 per 100,000 compared to 5 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous females (Health Canada, 2010)

  • Suicide rates for Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average.

This tool kit includes the following pages:

  • Prevention and Early Intervention strategies,

  • Screening and assessment tools,

  • Intervention and Treatment strategies, and,

  • Building resilience 

There is also a page which has the works I have used to compile these resources. ​

WHO IS IT FOR

This tool kit can be applied to most Indigenous students who are able to speak English. If possible, work and tools can be translated in the students' first language. There is no age or developmental stage that these tools are geared toward, as mental illness can appear at anytime. I suggest using this with students in Junior High and up, particularly with the earlier onset exposure to social media and the internet which has heightened the awareness of mental illness in younger ages. It's great we talk about mental health more, but it also means that children are younger when they are able to voice their concerns now (which is also great!). 

WHO CAN USE IT

This tool kit was designed for educators of Indigenous students. While I personally am an educator in Nunavut (after teaching in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, I have worked alongside First Nation groups in the south of Canada and with efducators who have worked both on and off reserve.  Many people are still unaware of the large gap between positive Indigenous mental health and the remainder of Canadian society, and this tool kit is designed for those who work with Indigenous youth on a daily basis.  

Anyone can use it! This is a great beginning point for people who are unaware of the historical trauma faced by Indigenous populations in Canada, or anyone who works with Indigenous youth.  Some of these tools are beneficial for youth in general, and can be applied as the reader sees fit. No prior experience or education required!

WHEN CAN YOU USE IT

Whenever you want. Building social-emotional capacity is good for any educator and their students at any time.