The mental health of Aboriginal peoples: transformations of identity and community

Can J Psychiatry. 2000 Sep;45(7):607-16. doi: 10.1177/070674370004500702.


This paper reviews some recent research on the mental health of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis of Canada. We summarize evidence for the social origins of mental health problems and illustrate the ongoing responses of individuals and communities to the legacy of colonization. Cultural discontinuity and oppression have been linked to high rates of depression, alcoholism, suicide, and violence in many communities, with the greatest impact on youth. Despite these challenges, many communities have done well, and research is needed to identify the factors that promote wellness. Cultural psychiatry can contribute to rethinking mental health services and health promotion for indigenous populations and communities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Canada
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / psychology*
  • Inuits / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Identification*