Indigenous Conceptions of Mental Health

A woman looks to the left, her brown hair flows to the right, and a flower represents her brain. Illustration by Valentina Talijan

While there is no single Indigenous worldview of mental health, there are commonalities across many communities. This fact sheet describes how mental health is viewed in Indigenous populations in and near Canada and includes references and resources for learning more.

“Indigenous conceptions of mental health do not assume a division between mind and body that often frames western beliefs about mental health but, rather, focus on developing an understanding of the body and mind as a whole and how illness is symptomatic of an imbalance between the individual, the society, and the spiritual realm. Mental health includes self-esteem, personal dignity, cultural identity and connectedness in the presence of a harmonious physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.”