Honouring our Strengths is a national framework to address substance use issues among First Nations people in Canada. The framework outlines a continuum of care in order to support strengthened community, regional, and national responses to substance use issues. This framework is intended to guide the design, coordination, and delivery of services at all levels of the system. It also provides guidance on an approach to community development that prioritizes mental health and well-being and relies upon community and cultural strengths.
The vision outlined in both the summary and full versions of the framework is one that supports a strengths-based, systems approach to addressing substance use issues among First Nations people in Canada. This vision recognizes that a strengthened system of care is the shared responsibility of various jurisdictions (community, province, federal), as well as a wide range of care providers including family and community members, community service providers, primary care and other medical staff, and off-reserve service providers. Within this vision, the emphasis is on ensuring that people, families, and communities have access to a range of effective, culturally relevant care options at any point in their healing journey. Realization of this vision will require ongoing commitment, collaboration, and sustained partnerships. Commitment and collaboration will, in turn, depend upon effective leadership throughout the system.
The NNADAP Renewal Leadership Team was formed in 2010 to exercise leadership in guiding the implementation of Honouring Our Strengths. The leadership team, with support from AFN, NNAPF, and Health Canada, is working with various networks and partners on strengthening the system of care for First Nations people and implementation is already underway. It is recognized that realization of the vision outlined in the framework will require ongoing commitment, collaboration, and sustained partnerships. This includes the development of tools or guides to support uptake of the renewed vision.
First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum
“Mental wellness is supported by culture, language, Elders, families, and Creation and is necessary for healthy individual, community, and family life.”
– First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum
The First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum (FNMWC) is a national framework that addresses mental wellness among First Nations in Canada. It identifies ways to enhance service coordination among various systems and supports culturally safe delivery of services. The FNMWC was developed through collaboration between the Assembly of First Nations, Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation, the Native Mental Health Association of Canada, and other community mental health leaders.
This continuum is rooted in cultural knowledge and emphasizes First Nations strengths and capacities, building upon the Honouring Our Strengths national framework published by the Assembly of First Nations, the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation, and Health Canada.
The FNMWC framework identifies a continuum of services needed to promote mental wellness and provides advice on policy and program changes that will enhance First Nations mental wellness outcomes. This enables communities to adapt, optimize, and realign their mental wellness programs and services based on their own priorities.
The FNMWC framework includes a number of elements that support the health system which include governance, research, workforce development, change and risk management, self-determination, and performance measurement. Service integration among federal, provincial, and territorial programs is central to its success.