June is Indigenous History Month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. These are opportunities for everyone to learn, honour and celebrate the history of Indigenous communities living in what is now known as Canada.

Due to ongoing impacts of colonization, residential schools, the sixties scoop, and intergenerational trauma Indigenous peoples are disproportionately impacted and have poorer mental health, substance use, suicide, and addiction outcomes. Indigenous peoples’ rate of mental health compared to the general population is significantly higher than the average and substance abuse is more than twice as common compared to the national average. These disparities are unjust and more needs to be done to better support these communities.

Poorer mental health and addiction outcomes are largely linked to systemic anti-Indigenous racism and the ongoing effects of colonization. Eliminating barriers of access and improving experiences in healthcare by creating a system that recognizes the ongoing effects of anti-Indigenous racism and colonization is crucial to ensuring Ontario’s mental health and addiction sector is working for everyone.

During Indigenous History Month, we encourage further conversations about ways to better support Indigenous peoples, the barriers facing Indigenous peoples, the effects of those barriers causing poorer mental health, suicide, and addiction outcomes, and the importance of having a healthcare system which understands those links.

Breakaway commits to building organizational cultural competency, and making meaningful steps towards reconciliation.

*Adapted from AMHO Bulletin