Being alive well: Aboriginal youth and evidence based-approaches to promoting mental well-being.
Williams, L. & Mumtaz, Z.
This paper was commissioned by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNHIB) in order to review the current evidence base regarding efforts to promote mental health in Aboriginal youth in Canada. A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature, the grey literature, internet search and key expert opinion was conducted. In total, 28 studies most closely approximating mental health promotion interventions were reviewed in-depth and summarized. In reality however these are primary prevention, tending to focus on individuals and proximal factors rather than collectives and underlying structural determinants of health.
In summary, our review reveals that published peer reviewed ‘evidence based’ evaluations of mental health promotion interventions with Canadian and indigenous youth in other countries are virtually non-existent. The fields of mental health and mental health promotion (MHP) are besieged with conceptual confusion and what is often named as mental health promotion is in fact primary or tertiary prevention. Furthermore, evidence-based health promotion has long been a contested area and perhaps the greatest challenge to the field is finding ways to develop and legitimate approaches to evidence that are congruent with Aboriginal worldviews.