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Hadjipavlou, George; Varcoe, Colleen; Tu, David; Dehoney, Jennifer; Price, Roberta; Browne, Annette J
"All my relations": experiences and perceptions of Indigenous patients connecting with Indigenous Elders in an inner city primary care partnership for mental health and well-being.
BACKGROUND: Mental health services in urban settings generally have not been adapted to serve the needs of Indigenous patients. We explored how patients’ encounters with Indigenous Elders affected their overall mental health and well-being to identify therapeutic mechanisms underlying improvement.

METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews of participants enrolled in a 6-month prospective mixed-methods evaluation of a program for mental health and well-being that featured the inclusion of Elders in the direct care of Indigenous patients in an inner city primary care clinic. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted to explore patients’ experiences and perceptions of their participation in the Elders program.

RESULTS: We included 37 participants from at least 20 different First Nations. All but 1 participant described substantial benefits from their encounters with Elders, and none reported being negatively affected. Five overarching themes were identified: experiencing healing after prolonged periods of seeking and desperation; strengthening cultural identity and belonging; developing trust and opening up; coping with losses; and engaging in ceremony and spiritual dimensions of care as a resource for hope.
CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne
Aboriginal Healthcare, Mental Health Care, Primary Care
Interview/Focus Group, Qualitative Methods
Journal Articles
Published Literature