Aboriginal students struggle disproportionately with mental health problems, suicide and they more often drop out. There new ideas about how change that.

Aboriginal students struggle disproportionately with mental health problems, suicide and they more often drop out. There new ideas about how change that.
Photo Credit: Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada

Aboriginal students do better with aboriginal mentors

A new study of Indigenous students suggests having mentorship from a member of their community have better mental health, academic success, increased cultural awareness and pride in themselves. This is important news given the struggles facing Aboriginal youth, particularly in the areas of mental health and suicide.

For two years, researchers at Western University studied 105 students aged between 11 and 14 attending school in the province of Ontario. Groups of students met once a week with an Indigenous adult mentor. The meetings focused on building skills in stress management in a context of spiritual, physical, mental and emotional teachings based on Aboriginal tradition.

The study found the mentorship program also had positive effects on the wider school population.

The research was published in the “Journal of Primary Prevention.”

Categories: Indigenous, Internet, Science and Technology, Society
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4 comments on “Aboriginal students do better with aboriginal mentors
  1. Avatar Sherron says:

    Thank you for this story. Are you able to share another link to the research and provide the title of the paper? The link in your story takes me to a closed research site and I can’t access it.
    Thank you

  2. Avatar Raymond Katt says:

    The dismal statistics of the last 25 years have not changed much and in fact they have even gotten worse as we Indigenous Frist Nations make up 4 % of the total Canadian population. These stats reflect that the Indigenous represent Nationally as 25% as being incarcerated; 25% as being involved with Children’s Aid Societies; 25% of the ones that were murdered etc… I am not surprised with the results of this research and the recent Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations. My concern as a Indigenous Mental Health & Addictions Counsellor is what practical responses will be put in place to create healthy change. Another reality is that organizations whom step up and want to help the Indigenous people have an over representation of non-Indigenous working for them. I gather the context of what venues the research is a not so good question when one refers to the statistics. In short I must support the message behind this research in hopes it will help in changing these dismal stats… MeeGweetch… BiZhiw

  3. Avatar Nadine says:

    More details please. Did they meet in the community or at school? Urban setting or remote? Meetings with a mentor were always group oriented? Did students volunteer? How did the population benefit? Such a great story but if we want to replicate in other settings, we need details please.

  4. Avatar Caroline says:

    Churchill High School in Thunder Bay has a First Nation staff which is great but the pay is so low that this staff member can’t live on that so she’s hunting for another job. She’s doing a very good job. Money issues all the time. Setting native youth school kids for failure as always.