New U of S research hub focuses on Aboriginal mental health issues
- Fraser Needham | October 26, 2015
A new research hub at the University of Saskatchewan plans to do research into mental health issues affecting Indigenous people.
The First Peoples-First Person Indigenous Hub officially launched on October 21.
The research hub will be run out of the College of Medicine and includes U of S psychiatry professor Caroline Tait as one of its co-leaders.
Members of this research group will look specifically at how such mental health issues as depression, suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder affect First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
Ryan Jimmy is a graduate student at the U of S and a spokesperson for the First Peoples-First Person Indigenous Hub.
He says the research hub aims to examine mental health issues of Indigenous populations using an Aboriginal lens.
“I think mental health, in itself, there’s a stigma around it that’s slowly starting to be talked about,” Jimmy says. “But, also, there’s certain contextual issues around Indigenous populations that are not necessarily approached in an ethical manner when it comes to research. So, for example, Western research tends to pathologize Indigenous peoples but we want this hub to be a place where we can connect researchers to people who have experienced (mental health issues) in a way that helps them be partners in establishing new knowledge.”
Jimmy adds a big part of the problem for Aboriginal people in terms of mental health is many have experienced unique trauma as a result of colonization while at the same time live in remote communities where accessing mental health services can be a challenge.
“There have been intergenerational problems around residential schools, 60’s scoop, and the poverty in the First Nations communities,” he says. “They don’t have the same access to health services and also the people who live in northern communities, like the Inuit, have some unique challenges.”
The research hub is part of the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network, a national network with a mission to create and share knowledge with the goal of creating more effective prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of depression and depression-linked illnesses.