It is important to the holistic health and wellbeing of every person to be able to access care – especially mental healthcare – that is culturally safe, relevant, and accessible to them. Specifically, we are mindful of the unique position of Indigenous OPPA members, and are committed to ensuring – not only accessible clinical services – but services that are culturally specific and relevant.
As stated by the Thunderbird Foundation and Health Canada in the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (2015):
“Mental wellness is a balance of the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional. This balance is enriched as individuals have: purpose in their daily lives whether it is through education, employment, care-giving activities, or cultural ways of being and doing; hope for their future and those of their families that is grounded in a sense of identity, unique Indigenous values, and having a belief in spirit; a sense of belonging and connectedness within their families, to community, and to culture; and finally a sense of meaning and an understanding of how their lives and those of their families and communities are part of creation and a rich history.” (p. 4)
For the past several years, our organization has been honoured to develop strong partnerships with Indigenous communities and regional councils in northern Ontario to support the development of regional and community-based mental health and wellness programs that are tailored to the unique needs of the communities. These partnerships have included culturally safe direct clinical services, as well as mental health program development that takes a community-led, capacity-development and resilience-building approach.
While individual supports, such as counselling and assessment services, are available, our organization is committed to continue working together with Indigenous OPPA members, communities, and leaders towards ensuring accessible, culturally safe, and relevant mental healthcare.