The former First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Advisory Committee provides guidance and advice to the MHCC on issues pertaining to FNIM communities across Canada. Dedicated to promoting the overall mental health of Aboriginal peoples, the former Committee aimed to ensure the perspectives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis are taken into account by all MHCC projects and initiatives.

The Committee’s original structure included First Nations, Inuit and Métis representation as well as mainstream Canadian members.

Promoting cultural safety
The concept of ‘cultural safety’ asks mental health service providers to consider the wide range of social, political, linguistic and spiritual considerations when addressing the mental health needs of Aboriginal peoples. Recognizing the importance of cultural safety in developing treatments and services, the former Committee produced One Focus: Many Perspectives, a training curriculum to help frontline service providers apply a culturally appropriate lens to everything they do. Derived from the findings of the Holding Hope in Our Hearts report, the curriculum provides guidance on designing effective cultural competence education for Canada’s mental health professionals.

Advancing a better understanding of FNIM issues
In its ongoing efforts to ensure the realities faced by Aboriginal peoples are reflected in its work, the MHCC consulted the former Committee during the development of two new projects: the Mental Health First Aid for First Nations program, which will help build the capacity of FNIM communities to assist people living with mental illness; and the FNIM Child, Youth and Family Mental Wellness Project, which examines the role technology plays in promoting mental health and well-being.