6.7.4 Percentage of Indigenous children aged 6 to 11 years with emotional, psychological or nervous difficulties, by Indigenous identity*, Canada, 2012

First Nations Métis
Indigenous Identity 6.5 7

*Inuit numbers too unreliable to be published
Excludes persons living on Indian reserves or settlements.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 577-0005 – Aboriginal Peoples Survey, long-term health problems (self-reported) by Aboriginal identity and sex, population aged 6 to 11 years, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional.

In 2012, 7% of First Nations and Métis children were reported to have emotional, psychological or nervous difficulties.

Understanding the mental health of Indigenous children and youth requires considering both the underlying social determinants of health and protective factors that promote children’s resiliency at the individual, family, community and societal levels. The relationship between the mental health of Indigenous children and youth and social determinants, like inadequate housing, food insecurity, poverty, social exclusion and lack of access to health services, is well documented. However, it is also important to consider the influence of historic and contemporary manifestations of colonialism as the broadest and most fundamental determinant of the mental health of Indigenous children and Protective factors such as spending time on the land, self-government, band control over education and health services and the presence of cultural facilities are all protective factors that can positively influence mental health.1 Engaging in community practices that preserve, rehabilitate and develop the cultural continuity of Indigenous communities have been demonstrated to decrease youth suicide rates in Indigenous communities.2

1Atkinson, D. (2017). Considerations for Indigenous child and youth population mental health promotion in Canada. Canada: National Collaborating Centres for Public Health.
2Chandler, M. & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/136346159803500202 -accessed November 14, 2018.