Urban Indigenous Mental Wellness: Cities, cultures, and belonging
There are deep disparities between the mental health outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Rates of depression and distress are considerably higher among Indigenous peoples than in the general Canadian population. Researchers have offered several possible explanations for these mental health outcomes, including the negative impacts of residential schools, the structures of colonialism more broadly, and poor access to mental health services. Utilizing a strengths-based approach, this study analyzes data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) and 2010 Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS) to look at the impact of cultural connectedness on mental wellness for Indigenous peoples living in Canadian urban centres. Bivariate and linear regression modeling do not show a positive relationship between cultural engagement and mental wellness within the APS and point to the need to reassess measures of “culture” and “identity” through analysis of univariate and bivariate probes of the UAPS.