CAN-BIND Indigenous Program
What is the CAN-BIND Indigenous Program?
The Indigenous Program aims to reduce substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide deaths within the youth population at Whitefish River First Nation in Ontario. The program is establishing community-based programs aimed at wellness promotion, suicide prevention, and community building. Key health factors, including mental health challenges, social support, and cultural resilience, are addressed through the programs. Program evaluation occurs continuously to ensure that the programs are effective and impactful. The platform ultimately aims to develop a scalable knowledge mobilization model and build capacity for programs in multiple First Nation communities across Ontario and beyond. This program is carried out in partnership with the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO).
Who leads this program?
Gerald McKinley, PhD, Indigenous Program Lead
The Indigenous Program Platform operates at the following research sites:
- St. Michael’s Hospital
- University Health Network
- Western University
What are the main goals of the program?
- Within each community, develop a community-based suicide and self-harm prevention program, led by and for youth.
- Incorporate sex and gender differentiated programming into the intervention.
- Evaluate online and in-community interventions so that successes and lessons learned will facilitate their scalability for local knowledge users.
Key successes to date
- An event called “Strengthening Our Voices” was held in September 2016 in the local Whitefish River community. The event focused on self-care and overcoming depression and suicide. The aim was to educate children, youth and parents on pediatric healthcare through culturally appropriate mediums.
- The program is currently running a “Youth Retreat for Life Promotion” event series across 2017-2018 which addresses community-identified topics of relevance:
- The Spring Workshop was held in May 2017, and delivered in partnership with Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury, Ontario. The event focused on the theme of Belonging. Nineteen youth participants attended and engaged in various activities, including activities on trust.
- The Summer Workshop was held in July 2017, and delivered in partnership with Nimkii Aazhbikoong – an Indigenous working camp at Thunder Mountain near Elliot Lake. The event focused on identity by enhancing traditional knowledge and developing positive views towards traditional values and social roles. Sixteen youth attended.
- The Fall Workshop was held in September 2017 in the local Whitefish River community. The event focused on different domains of self-esteem and self-respect, particularly emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Twelve youth participants attended.
- The Winter Workshop is upcoming in March 2018 in Toronto, ON. The event focused on a community-level sense of purpose and the importance of clean drinking water.
Meet the Team
Dr. Gerald P. McKinley, Ph.D. is a Medical Anthropologist who works in the Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health at Western University. Drawing on over a decade of community-level engagement, McKinley is working to reduce depression, substance abuse, violence, and suicide among the First Nations youth population in Ontario. Within CAN-BIND, McKinley works with a knowledge translation team which uses mixed research methods in partnership with community-based participatory action research and lab and clinically based methodologies to develop applied programs.
Trehani M. Fonseka is a Research Associate with the Department of Psychiatry at the University Health Network, and Project Lead for CAN-BIND’s Indigenous Program at St. Michael’s Hospital. Trehani leads the project team in planning and delivering community events, in addition to overseeing any research dissemination initiatives.
Dr. Sakina Rizvi is a Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide and Depression Studies at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Dr. Rizvi is part of the organizing committee for the youth events.
Dr. Shane McInerney is a Staff Psychiatrist at St Michael’s Hospital and University Health Network who specializes in mood disorders and suicide studies. He is also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. McInerney is a co-investigator for the Indigenous Program.
Dr. Kirk Nylen is the Director of Knowledge Translation and Outreach at the Ontario Brain Institute. Dr. Nylen is part of the project management team.
Jenine Paul is the Knowledge Translation and Outreach Lead at the Ontario Brain Institute. She is part of the Life Promotion Program planning team and supports development and planning of the program. Jenine also attends and represents OBI at the Life Promotion youth and community events in Whitefish River First Nation.
Leslie McGregor is the Health and Social Services Manager at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Leslie leads the Whitefish River team in planning and delivering community events.
Candice Assinewe is the Community Wellness Worker at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Candice is involved in planning and delivering community events.
Arlene Pitawanakwat is the Child and Family Well-Being Worker at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Arlene is involved in planning and delivering community events, and also provides an Elder perspective.
Amber Zona is the Youth Support Worker at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Amber is involved in planning and delivering community events.
Crystal Clark-McGregor is the Community Mentor at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Crystal is involved in planning and delivering community events.
Tyler Agawa is the Garden Support Worker at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Tyler is involved in planning and delivering community events.
Genny Jacko is the Mental Health and Addictions Worker at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Genny is involved in planning and delivering community events, and also provides an Elder perspective.
Gail Jacko oversees Food Security at the Whitefish River Health Centre. Gail is involved in planning and delivering community events.
Cathy McGregor is the Medical Receptionist at the Whitefish River Health Centre.
Doreen Jacko Community Health Representative at the Whitefish River Health Centre.
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