Tapping into Mental Health: Exploring Indigenous Water and Mental Health Issues through Canadian Media
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It seems both unjust and ironic that the first peoples on the land now known as Canada are some of the last to obtain access to their fundamental human rights. This research explores the occurrence of relationship, region, and responsibility in Canadian print media articles that address water and mental health issues for on-reserve Indigenous peoples. Employing both quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research demonstrates that there is a relationship between water and mental health for some reserves, that regions such as northern Ontario and British Columbia have higher rates of reporting and/or mental health and water issues on reserves, and that the two issues are constantly left to the blame game of various parties in media reporting while no one appears to want to accept responsibility for the issues. This work does not demonstrate a causal relationship between water insecurity and poor mental health, but rather points to print media portrayals of the co-occurrence of the two issues and the gaps in solid actions toward change. Though achieving water security is not the only step needed to address mental health issues for Indigenous Canadians, it could be a necessary drop that creates a ripple of action towards the protection of rights for Indigenous communities.