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Article Critique: Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Introduction

The title of the article is “The mental health of indigenous peoples in Canada: A critical review of research” by Sarah E Nelson and Kathi Wilson. The study explains that indigenous people usually suffer from mental health issues more than other people around the globe. The disproportionate burden is influenced by colonialism and associated factors. Limited research has been done on the mental health of indigenous people in Canada since the majority of researchers addressed inequalities, mortality, and morbidity (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). The article offered a critical review of literature in an attempt to explain the indigenous mental health of indigenous people in Canada. It consulted two health journals and eleven databases to gather beneficial information regarding mental health between 2006 and 2016. The paper included more than 200 sources in the review, where they were coded based on geography, population group, as well as a research theme.

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Research on mental health for indigenous people was emphasized while paying attention to problematic substance use and suicide. The article advocated for more critical use of historical trauma and the colonialism concept. It indicated concerns over the underrepresentation of indigenous people in research. This paper offers a critical review of the mental health of indigenous peoples in Canada while evaluating the impact of colonialism and racism on their wellness.

Substance abuse and suicide, regarding the concept of historical trauma, need to be handled with caution. Intergenerational and historical trauma are models that can support the explanation of how colonization affects indigenous people. Indigenous ways of mental healing tend to differ from the Western views explaining the stereotypical views linked to colonialism. The article noted a significant gap both geographically and demographically in the mental health of the affected people in Canada (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). Therefore, jurisdictional and historical identity politics fails to address issues that indigenous people face and mental health determinants. Urban or off-reserve and Metis people are extensively underrepresented in mental health research. The problem can be blamed for the escalating colonial stereotypes that affect the health of indigenous people.

Personal Position on the Article

The article has noted that indigenous people disproportionally face the burden of physical and mental illness. I believe that it is effective in the explanation of mental health determinants arising due to colonialism, including racism and poverty. It has become clear that devastating health outcomes, including high injury rates, chronic and acute pain, and infant mortality, are more pronounced in indigenous populations (Wylie & McConkey, 2019). Colonial structures and processes need to be considered when evaluating the prevalence of mental illness. I agree with the article that colonialism is the main cause of mental illness and it can be associated with suicidal attempts and ideation. It was effective in explaining how off-reserve and urban indigenous populations are extensively underrepresented in Canada. It was noted that Metis are drastically underrepresented while Inuit are overrepresented. The work was effective in demonstrating that the most effective mental health services are developed by indigenous communities. It was found that overemphasis on suicide and substance use problems can influence devastating impacts.

Critique

Strengths

The article has focused on areas where a gap existed in research and additional literature was important. Although abundant research exists regarding mortality and issues affecting the indigenous community, little information is available regarding the impact of colonialism on mental health. The lack of adequate literature has been affecting the establishment of effective measures to address the problem and offer desirable support to the population (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). The article meets its purpose by consulting reliable sources of information and supporting effective analysis. It provided evidence that the indigenous population in Canada is disproportionally affected by the burden of mental health due to diverse factors, including racism and inequality in the distribution of resources.

A detailed explanation was provided regarding the research process, including the involved activities, what researchers did, the involved people, and the period taken to complete the work. The findings were clear and made it easier for the audience to understand and follow what was done. Moreover, the article had high reliability and versatility, indicating that it was strong. Reliability implies that the work is consistent, reproducible, and precise from different testing occasions (Wylie & McConkey, 2019). The research can be conducted by different researchers and find similar findings regarding indigenous people in Canada.

Literature was analyzed and research was conducted in five stages to ensure its effectiveness. These stages entailed the identification of the right research question, relevant studies and their sources, selection of the study, data charting, as well as reporting, summarizing, and collating (Wylie & McConkey, 2019). The research question is considered the greatest breadth of scholarship to enhance the effectiveness of the study. Sourcing information from reliable databases such as Allied & Complementary Medicine, PsycINFO, Medline, Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing, Web of Science, CBCA Complete, and Journal Storage (JSTOR) improved the reliability of the research.

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The methodology was reliable and valid because it supported the gathering of the required information to make a comprehensive conclusion. It influenced the development of the research question, presentation of results, and data analysis and collection. The methodology was effective since it supported the achievement of the purpose of the study. Moreover, the study was conducted by two knowledgeable authors from the University of Toronto Mississauga. They applied their skills and experience to support the gathering of the necessary information and present it innovatively.

A reliable method was applied to enhance the data collection process. Consulting reliable sources and compiling data appropriately ensured the realization of accurate results. The selection approach was appropriate in ensuring that specific information was obtained regarding indigenous populations in Canada. The authors selected sources published between 2006 and 2016 that were written in English and covered the Indigenous Canadian population (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). The selection process only concentrated on articles covering mental health, such as suicide prevention and community wellness. Therefore, researchers only retained 223 articles from more than 3,000 that were initially identified (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). To enhance the reliability of results, articles whose relevance could not be determined by abstracts and titles were read to understand their content. The study consulted 65 qualitative and 85 quantitative studies.

Another strength of the study is that the searched articles and other sources were sufficient to support the making of a comprehensive conclusion. Involving large and reliable databases enabled researchers to obtain many relevant articles within a short period. The research measured the health of indigenous people just as it claimed to measure during the start of the work (Ansloos, 2017). This is an indication that it was effective in the achievement of its objective and purpose. Moreover, findings cannot be generalized in a different country apart from Canada. Obtained results could only be relevant to the indigenous population in Canada, implying that they cannot be generalized to other regions. Transparency and accountability were ensured to promote the trustworthiness of the findings. The study covered a considerable period lasting up to 11 years to enhance the reliability of the results (Greenwood et al., 2018). Covering more than ten years is an indication that researchers were exhaustive enough to support the gathering of relevant information and making a comprehensive conclusion.

Limitation of the Study

The study concentrated on the indigenous population in Canada, denoting that it is only limited to the group and country. Further research is required to cover other regions and establish whether similar findings will be obtained. Researchers were only interested in understanding the negative impact of colonialism on indigenous people in Canada. Therefore, the article failed to consider other important determinants and factors related to the topic, including measures taken to address the problem and why little success has been achieved.

Researchers had a difficult time obtaining relevant information because there lacked adequate prior literature on the topic. The limitation of studies affected the ability of researchers to understand the research problem as well as lay a strong foundation for the study. They had to consult many databases and spend more time obtaining sources that could support the gathering of relevant information. They established strict selection criteria to avoid irrelevant sources and ensure that reliable data is obtained (Greenwood et al., 2018). However, it helped researchers identify an existing gap in the literature as well as the need for further research.

The study covered sources written over a prolonged period of 11 years to obtain the required results. Anyone willing to conduct a similar study must devote sufficient time to evaluate many sources and study a single topic (Nelson & Wilson, 2017). The extended period can be associated with more expenses implying that the study could be cost-ineffective. Completing the literature review, interpreting results, and applying methodology would require excessive time. Researchers must be prepared to overcome the limitation before initiating the study.

Another limitation is that the researcher faced cultural bias and racism when gathering information regarding the negative impact of colonialism on indigenous populations in Canada. Negative stereotypes against the population could have influenced the provision of inaccurate or biased information. Biased information can compromise the reliability of the overall outcome and findings of the study. Bias can also influence wrong conclusions and distorted results and cause unnecessary costs (Wylie & McConkey, 2019). Results can disproportionately favor one subject or group, compromising the reliability of the outcome. Consulting biased sources could have affected the reliability of the data interpretation, collection, and applied procedures.

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Conclusion

The article was effective in exploring the mental health of Canadian indigenous people while considering the negative effect of colonialism. It explained the important role that colonial policies and practices play in compromising the well-being and mental health of the indigenous population. The theme of substance abuse and suicidal thoughts was highlighted to explain the extent of the problem. The disproportional burden on the population has been influenced by inequalities in the distribution of resources, cultural stereotypes, and bias. It is important to expand the research and evaluate the reasons hindering the elimination of the problems. Researchers need to explain why the problem is still being realized despite the establishment of effective measures to curb the oppression of minority groups.

References

Ansloos, J. P. (2017). The medicine of peace: Indigenous youth decolonizing healing and resisting violence. Fernwood Publishing.

Greenwood, M., De Leeuw, S., & Lindsay, N. M. (Eds.). (2018). Determinants of indigenous peoples’ health: Beyond the social. Canadian Scholars.

Nelson, S. E., & Wilson, K. (2017). The mental health of indigenous peoples in Canada: A critical review of research. Social Science & Medicine, 176, 93-112. Web.

Wylie, L., & McConkey, S. (2019). Insiders’ insight: Discrimination against indigenous peoples through the eyes of health care professionals. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 6(1), 37-45. Web.

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