Tips to Support the Mental Health of The Indigenous Youth
Indigenous youth report poorer mental health outcomes, higher dependency on substance abuse, and higher rates of suicide compared to other youth. These outcomes are directly influenced by historical injustice against Indigenous communities and the feeling of isolation, estrangement, and cultural loss. If you are an Indigenous-identifying youth, here are some tips on how you can support your mental health and wellness.
1. Stay connected with your community
Interconnectedness is a foundational element of Indigenous culture - yet, many Indigenous youths feel disconnected from their community. Community engagement is the key to fostering connectedness. Start with your local Indigenous Friendship Centre, Resource Centre, or Community Centre. Branch out to local associations (school and campus clubs), local tribal councils, offices and reserves. Play an active role in your community, and you will find yourself feeling more connected to it.
2. Give back to your Indigenous community
This goes hand-in-hand with staying connected to your Indigenous community. Volunteer opportunities in your community are everywhere. Consider volunteering with your local Indigenous resource centre in any capacity - perhaps as a tutor, youth mentor or ambassador. If you identify as a woman, consider supporting other women at your local Indigenous women’s shelter. Everyone has a skill that they can share with others - and you can share your skill with your community. This is a fantastic way to participate in community engagement and feel good about yourself for giving back to your community in a meaningful way.
3. Be an advocate, practice anti-racism and be an anti-racism leader
Educate others about Indigenous issues. Advocate for your community at school, on-campus or at your workplace—practice anti-racism with your friends, peers, and colleagues. Start a school or work-based club or association that educates others and informs others about your culture. By spreading awareness, informing and educating others about your culture, you will feel a sense of pride for your community, and who knows - you might learn something new in the process.
4. Learn about your history
Indigenous history is beautiful, colourful and rich. Develop an understanding and appreciation for your roots by learning about them - perhaps by speaking to your family, elder, and community leaders at your local Indigenous resource centre. Learning about your history means learning about your language(s), music, traditions, culture, and cuisine as well. Supplement this by visiting your local library - where a wealth of resources exist for you. You can enjoy learning about your culture at the library by reading about Indigenous history, consulting Indigenous archives and even watching Indigenous cultural films.
5. Know what Indigenous-specific services, benefits and programs you have access to.
A variety of programs, benefits, supports and services exist to better the Indigenous community. Many options exist to help better your life, be it school, work, government programs, or specific health and wellness services. We are also here to help!
Contact RD Psychotherapy today for more information on our outpatient services. Our specialization areas include addiction, PTSD, trauma, depression, anger management, anxiety, couples and marriage counselling, self-actualization, positive psychology and life coaching.