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Aboriginal (Native) Peoples of Canada: there Perspectives on Mental Disorders - Research Paper Example

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The increasing awareness and need to address mental health problems among the aboriginal communities of Canada are quite apparent. A major contributing factor to this increased awareness is the escalating rate of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression …
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Download file to see previous pages In addition, suicide cases and domestic violence have also been on the rise in the recent past, making the need to address mental health problems an urgent one among the aborigines of Canada. Consequently, they have taken a closer look at and keener considerations of the mental problems facing them, the causes of these problems, and the most appropriate and effective solutions (Blum et al., 1999). In understanding mental health issues among the aborigines of Canada, it is important that the concepts of stress and distress are best understood. The reason for delving deep into the implications of stress and distress to the aborigines’ understanding of mental illnesses is the fact that the aborigines of Canada today understand the role of stress and distress in causing mental illnesses by disturbing one’s soul (Blum et al., 1999). In fact, the aboriginal communities of Canada believe that everyone experiences stress, distress, and anxiety at some point in their lives or during some of the daily activities they undertake. For instance, an Inuit hunter is most likely to experience some stress while waiting for a harp seal to appear. This stress not only results in alertness but also some level of determination as the hunter waits for his kill. However, a distinction should be made between everyday stress and distress. This paper explores the various perceptions of the aboriginal community of Canada towards mental disorders, comparing them with the Christian perceptions of mental illnesses. The Aboriginal Perceptions of Mental Illnesses Stress is recognized as that feeling caused by the daily chores and activities such as taking care of children, cooking, fetching firewood, and work demands among others. In fact, everyone experiences stress, which is normal and plays some important roles within certain acceptable limits. Although stress may result in both nervous and physical tension in an individual, most people are always in a position to cope with stress. However, stresses that prolong and get worse may result in distress in which one’s capacity and ability to cope reduces, implying that a hitherto harmless stress has exceeded the acceptable limits. The circumstances under which stress converts to distress include when stress is on-going, unexpected, or unwanted. Similarly, stress may convert to distress if it is caused by serious life-changing or life-threatening events or experiences (Deane & Lambert, 2001). Among the causes of stress, distress, and depression recognized among the aborigines of Canada are similar to those recognized in other communities and include family violence, death of a family member or a friend, divorce, separation, and the imprisonment of loved ones among others. Therefore, among the aborigines of Canada, the most common problems that are identifiable with mental disorders are family abuse/violence, mental disorders, depression, suicidal tendencies, grief, and lifestyle disruption (Deane & Lambert, 2001). Prior to discussing the Canadian aborigines’ mental health problems, their symptoms, causes, and solutions, it is important that certain questions pertaining to the aborigines’ perceptions of mental illnesses are addressed. The first outstanding feature of the aborigines’ perceptions on mental disorders is that such disorders are not separate from the general aspects and contexts of peoples’ lives. In fact, the aborigines interconnect with mental, physical, psychological, spiritual, and environmental aspects of their ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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