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Culture is Healing: An Indigenous Child & Youth Mental Wellness Framework

The Our Children Our Way Society recognizes that today is Bell Let’s Talk Day – a day to take action and create real change in mental well-being. It is an opportunity to reflect inward and check in with our own mental health and well-being and to reflect outward on the ways in which we can effect positive change for others and their mental health and well-being.

We know that positive change is needed now more than ever, as the dual crises in mental health and toxic drugs proceed unrelentingly and with devastating impacts within our Indigenous communities.

Several of our Nations and communities have declared states of emergency and are in desperate need of support. The dual crises are taking the lives of far too many of our youth. Growing numbers of children are coming into care and, in the worst cases, losing their parents to toxic drug deaths. And we see growing threats to mental wellness among both children and youth.

Despite this reality, BC has not yet made significant investments to better meet the needs of our Indigenous children, youth and families. Services remain fragmented and inaccessible, and entirely misaligned with Indigenous holistic healing principles.

The Our Children Our Way Society developed Culture is Healing: An Indigenous Child & Youth Mental Wellness Framework to respond to the need for shifts in practice.

Culture is Healing encourages practitioners, policy, and legislative drafters to engage in ongoing reflexive practice to consider how to integrate the guiding principles highlighted in Culture is Healing into their own work. The framework guides practitioners to ask: “How am I showing up in a good way to work with and for Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities?”

The framework also highlights system change strategies, outlining ways in which the overall Mental Wellness system can integrate a Culture is Healing approach to better support innovative practice.

On this “Bell Let’s Talk Day”, consider how “It starts with Me!” Learn the principles, look at the reflective questions, show and model what is needed. Add this to your training, be reflective with yourself and your staff.

Resources available on OurChildrenOurWay.ca:

Coming soon: we are excited to share that additional training materials are in development, with an anticipated rollout of a pilot by Summer 2024!