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This section includes resources on the law relating to mental health & addiction, as well as links to treatment centres and services.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Overview of Mental Health & Addictions

This LibGuide page is dedicated to resources on mental health and addictions as they impact the Aboriginal community in Canada. Mental health and substance abuse (typically drugs and alcohol) is a particularly pressing issue for First Nations, Metis and Inuit people as historic trauma has inflicted pain on the well-being of communities as a whole. These resources incorporate Aboriginal understanding of mental health and how best to address problems such as substance abuse, suicide, and others.

Be sure to navigate to the subsections for further information on suicide prevention and recovery.

Mental Health Resources

  • Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research
    The Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research (NAMHR) is committed to building capacity for mental health and addictions research and knowledge translation in remote, rural and urban settings by working in close partnership with Aboriginal organizations and communities.
  • Nechi Training, Research and Health Promotions Institute
    The Nechi Training, Research and Health Promotions Institute offers specialized training to addictions counsellors working in Indigenous communities. Our teaching model applies theory to practice through role-playing, experiential learning and group work. For over thirty-nine years, Nechi has been a leader in addictions treatment research and training.

Mental Health & the Law

The following are general resources on the state of the law as it pertains to mental health issues in Alberta. The information contained here is of relevance to users and caregivers, outlining the rights of patients depending on the circumstances. Hover your mouse over each resource for more information.


Guidelines and Resources for Mental Health Workers & Researchers

The following resources provide an overview of the current state of mental health among Aboriginal communities, assess the Indigenous understandings and contributions to mental health, and strategize ways in which mental health issues can properly be addressed. Hover your mouse over each resource for more information.


Selected Titles From The BearPaw Library

The following are a sample of books available at the physical library.

Cover Art
Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice - Matthew R. Merrens (Editor); David W. Lynde (Editor); Robert E. Drake
Call Number: 362.222 EVI 2005
ISBN: 9780393704433
Publication Date: 2005-04-17
"As the philosophy, major tenets, and techniques of the movement have evolved, evidence-based medicine has strongly influenced individual health care decision-making, the practices offered in health care programs, and the structure of medical and public health systems. Evidence-based medicine has also begun to influence the field of mental health. As support for evidence-based medicine grows in mental health, the need to clarify its fundamental principles also increases.In dealing with the new era of evidence-based practice, mental health practitioners are now confronted with a sense of obligation to understand these practices and to implement them in order to provide the best available services to consumers. This book explores some of the complex challenges in implementing EBPs, and highlights the meaningful opportunities that are inherent in this paradigm shift. This comprehensive textbook will become an essential primer for all practitioners and students who are grappling with the new age of evidence-based practice."

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Research on Community-Based Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents - William H. Fisher (Editor)
Call Number: 362.2 2083 RES 2007
ISBN: 9780762313150
Publication Date: 2006-12-01
"Research on mental health services for children and adolescents has become a vibrant subspecialty within the larger field of mental health services research. This volume reflects the richness and complexity of research in this burgeoning and vitally important area and also highlights the novel conceptual and methodological approaches researchers in this field are taking in tackling its most critical issues."

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Multisystemic Therapy and Neighborhood Partnerships - Cynthia Cupit Swenson; Scott W. Henggeler; Ida S. Taylor; Oliver W. Addison; Patricia Chamberlain (Foreword by)
Call Number: 362.20425083 MUL 2005
ISBN: 9781593851095
Publication Date: 2004-11-24
"Based on the proven technology of Multisystemic Therapy (MST), this unique book provides an exemplary approach to empowering communities to reduce youth violence and substance abuse and promote school success. Effective clinical strategies for working with at-risk youth are embedded in a comprehensive framework that enlists the talents and resources of neighborhood residents, community organisations, and outside stakeholders. Using an extended case example to illustrate all aspects of implementing MST on a neighborhood-wide scale, the volume covers empirical and clinical foundations, program planning, and strategies for building collaboration with key community players. The result is a hopeful and practical blueprint for making a neighborhood safer and healthier for all residents and creating new opportunities for young people and their families."

Cover Art
Healing Traditions : The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada - Kirmayer, Laurence J., 1952-
Call Number: 362.2 0899 7071 HEA 2009
ISBN: 9780774815239
Publication Date: 2009
"Aboriginal peoples in Canada have diverse cultures but share commonsocial and political challenges that have contributed to theirexperiences of health and illness. This collection addresses theorigins of mental health and social problems and the emergence ofculturally responsive approaches to services and health promotion.Healing Traditions is not a handbook of practice but aresource for thinking critically about current issues in the mentalhealth of indigenous peoples. Cross-cutting themes include: the impactof colonialism, sedentarization, and forced assimilation; theimportance of land for indigenous identity and an ecocentric self; andprocesses of healing and spirituality as sources of resilience."

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Other Guides to Check Out

For other relevant guides, please check out the following.

Health Information
by Stefanie Varze - Last Updated Jun 27, 2017
This section contains information on various aspects of Indigenous health, with links to healthcare services.
4 views this year

What is the Mental Health Strategy for Canada? (Mental Health Commission of Canada)

A short video outlining a new report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, "Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy of Canada."

To access the report, visit


Culture Matters: Indigenous Perspectives On Behavioral Healthcare

"A documentary film focusing on Native American, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander behavioral health care and how culture influences treatment decisions.

We travel to the South Pacific Island of American Samoa, the pristine wilderness of Alaska, and around the United States to talk with indigenous people and listen to their stories."


Aboriginal Mental Health: The Agenda with Steve Paikin

"Last month, the Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario declared a state of emergency following two suicides in one week, not counting 20 other attempts. Neskantaga and other remote First Nations in Nishnawbe Aski Nation face a much higher suicide rate than the rest of Canada. This while other First Nations saw a decline in the number of suicides and some, no suicides at all. Why are some communities overwhelmed with suicides and others suicide-free? The Agenda examines aboriginal mental health in the latest installment of our Mental Health Matters series."


Lakota Concept Of Mental Health And Illness

"The Lakota are native Americans from what is now North and South Dakota. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, MPhil, author of the seminal book "Coyote Medicine" gave this view of how the Lakota view mental health and illness at the Integrative Mental Health Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on March 22, 2010"



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