Canadian First Nations, Metis and Inuit Youth Conceptions of Health and Health Issues

Lead Author L, Lines
Institution Contact
Co-Authors C.G. Jardine, S.M. Driedger, K. McTavish and C.M. Furgal
Theme Theme 4: Building Long-term Human Capacity
Session Name 4.4 Circumpolar Health and Well-Being
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 01:15 PM - 01:30 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Conceptions of health are known to be complex and to vary across cultures and locations. Although Indigenous understandings of health are generally understood to holistically encompass emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental dimensions, specific notions of health and being healthy vary across Indigenous identities and geographies. In addition, there are frequently generational differences in the conception of health and relevant health issues. Indigenous youth often find themselves at the interface of traditional and more ‘western’ ideas of health because of their increased exposure to non-Indigenous understandings through the Internet and social media. As an initial step in an overall program of research designed to investigate the value of First Nations, Inuit and Metis youth-led risk communication messages for promoting community health and well-being, an overall assessment of youth views on health, health issues and interest in health research and messaging was conducted. This was done at organized gatherings in 2015/16: 1) Qanaq Inuit Youth Leadership Summit (~50 youth); 2) Manitoba Metis Youth Gathering (~50 youth); and 3) Dene Youth Leadership On-the-Land Workshop (~20 youth). Youth were engaged through three mechanisms: 1) a short survey on health issues and interest in health research; 2) a longer survey on personal health concerns and issues, health issues for community youth, and health information seeking and use; and 3) breakout focus groups of 8-10 youth to further discuss health issues and youth involvement in research and health messaging. Preliminary results of the information collected will be presented, and differences and similarities between the three groups of youth will be highlighted. The results of these assessments provide a sound basis for designing programs for youth participation in health messaging, and increase our overall understanding of Indigenous concepts of health and wellbeing.
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