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Title: The engagement of the raising the Spirit’ Mental Wellness Team with First Nation communities in the Manitoulin, North Shore and Bemwijaang Tribal Council areas
Authors: Manitowabi, Susan Jane
Keywords: mental health and addictions;traditional knowledge;evaluation;engagement;collaboration;Mental Health and Addictions, tradintegration of mainstream and traditional approaches;capacity building
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2021
Abstract: The “Raising the Spirit” Mental Wellness Team (MWT) was funded as a pilot project in 2007. Funding for this project was made available by the federal government under the Mental Wellness Advisory Committee (MWAC) Strategy (see appendix 1). This pilot project partnered with ten First Nations communities from the Manitoulin Island, North Shore and Waabnoong Bemwijaang Tribal Council areas, in Northeastern Ontario. The goal of this pilot project was to work collaboratively with mental health and addiction workers and other service providers to improve access to specialized services; enhance knowledge, skills, and capacities of community workers; provide support, consultation, clinical supervision, coaching and mentoring; and, braid traditional and mainstream approaches to wellness. The focus of this research study was to evaluate how the MWT pilot project maintained the engagement and support of the participating First Nations communities. Areas explored included: the collaboration within and across Aboriginal communities; the integration of mainstream and traditional approaches; and, capacity building at the community level. Self -reflective journals, photovoice and narrative storytelling interviews were chosen because of their congruence with traditional ways of knowing and understanding which were also viewed as being culturally appropriate. These evaluation methods were extremely powerful means of telling the story of the relationship between the MWT and the First Nations communities involved in this project. One major contributing factor that enhanced the ability of the MWT pilot project to maintain the engagement with the First Nations communities was the strong commitment to the intent of the iv pilot project by all partners. Although there were many challenges that could have impacted the ability of the MWT to engage with the First Nations communities, there was good support from the First Nation leadership who recognized the benefits of enhanced mental health and addictions services in their communities. The pilot project offered an opportunity for the First Nations communities to access additional mental health and addiction services as well as increased access to traditional healing services. The Traditional Advisory Committee (TAC) was instrumental in creating opportunities through the Traditional Teaching Series for frontline workers to learn more about traditional healing practices and teachings. This had the added benefit of increasing their skills and abilities to utilize both traditional and mainstream approaches in their service provision to their clients, as well as themselves and their families.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Theses
Rural and Northern Health - Doctoral theses

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