UBC Theses and Dissertations
Indigenous youth access of support for mental health and wellness in schools and community : a case study Nelson, Melanie
There have been calls for improved mental health services for Indigenous communities (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2015) and students (British Columbia Teacher’s Federation, 2015). Given most Indigenous youth attend public school (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2021), support for mental health and wellness should be targeted there (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996). The purpose of this study was to explore what Indigenous youth do to support their mental health and wellness in schools and community using an embedded single case study approach guided by an Indigenous Storywork framework. Two Cultural Support Persons, four community members, and six youth completed semi-structured interviews. The results are organized into ten themes. Three themes are identified with respect to Research Question 1 (How does traditional Squamish Nation understanding of wellness influence what students do to support their wellness in schools and community?) including the Importance of Connection, Maintaining Balance, and Signs of Unwellness. Four themes are discussed in the context of Research Question 2 (What do Squamish youth do to support their mental health and wellness in their schools and community?) including Wellness Through the Four Realms, People Youth Look to for Support, Significance of Culture and Language, and Western Mental Health is Valued. The other three themes are discussed with respect to Research Question 3 (What factors influence what Squamish youth do to support their mental health and wellness?), which included School is Valued but Difficult, Ongoing Lateral Violence, and Dependency and Unwellness.
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