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Research Snapshot: Gap between Aboriginal and Western approaches to mental health persists

September 20, 2012

A gap still exists between Aboriginal and Western approaches to Aboriginal mental health—that’s one of the findings of a recent study. The research team, primarily from Saskatchewan, looked at past work on the treatment and healing of Aboriginal Peoples with mental health and substance-related issues. The researchers observed the Aboriginal tradition of storytelling to convey the importance of adopting holistic and culture-based treatment for Aboriginal clients.

Ultimately, what they found can help psychiatrists and practitioners working with Aboriginal Peoples experiencing mental health and substance-related issues. Their findings also highlight the importance for practitioners to know about Aboriginal approaches to treating mental health and addictions. What’s more, the researchers provide a starting point for understanding the disconnect between disorder-based psychiatry and culture-based approaches to treatment and healing.

To get the full story, check out EENet’s new Research Snapshot of the article, “From Benzos to Berries: Treatment Offered at an Aboriginal Youth Solvent Abuse Treatment Centre Relays the Importance of Culture,” by Colleen Anne Dell, Maureen Seguin, Carol Hopkins, Raymond Tempier, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Debra Dell, Randy Duncan, and Karen Mosier. The article appeared in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 56, no. 2: 75-83. The Snapshot is available here.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research articles, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s clear language summary of other articles, visit

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