Look to the Medicine Wheel for Mental Health, First Nations Elders Advise

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From Medical Xpress: “The traditional medicine wheel, symbolizing balance and interconnection, can serve as a framework for improving the mental well-being of First Nations people in Manitoba.

That’s the key recommendation from a  study conducted by eight First Nations communities in partnership with the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) and researchers from the University of Manitoba.

‘Traditional teachings have to come back in order [for us] to know who we are and how to balance ourselves,’ said an Elder participant in the study. ‘We need to go back to having the mind, the body and the soul reconnect.’ […]

‘The biomedical model of treating  is compartmentalized. The medicine wheel framework is holistic. You treat the whole person, within the family and within the community. You support the person in achieving balance in their emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.’

The Elders identified strategies for mental wellness such as participating in and contributing to the community; finding a sense of meaning and purpose; taking part in spiritual activities such as sweats, ceremonies and round dances; connecting with the land; and gaining knowledge and strength from sharing histories and stories.

A strong theme was that a sense of identity within the community creates feelings of belonging that foster health. ‘Relationships create co-operative energy for dealing with illness,’ the study says.

Ties to the land in one’s home community are powerful for mental health, the Elders said. ‘When your soul is sick, what you need is not a pill, it’s to go back into that place of connection to family, to homeland, to knowing who you are,’ says Kyoon-Achan.

‘A big cause of mental illness is dislocation,’ says Wanda Philips-Beck, an Anishinabe nurse research manager with FNHSSM and a U of M Ph.D. student who took a leadership role in the study.

‘Land-based forms of healing are legitimate. For example, a program to take at-risk youth out to build a lodge and learn to harvest animals in a respectful way teaches them how to live in community, work as a team and develop relationships. That strengthens mental well-being.'”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. “The biomedical model of treating mental illness is compartmentalized.” It’s actually about “mental health professionals” defaming/stigmatizing one person to everyone in their family. Demanding the person “give up all your activities and concentrate on the meds,” so attempting to separate that person from everyone else also. After forcing, coercing, and/or threatening the stigmatized person to take mind altering “safe … meds,” drugs that can create the “bipolar” and “schizophrenia” symptoms.

    https://www.alternet.org/2010/04/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome

    All while the “mental health professionals” and all other doctors lie to the stigmatized person and his/her family, fraudulently claiming the adverse effects of the drugs are “a lifelong, incurable, genetic mental illness.” In the hopes the “mental health professionals” can take away all hope from the stigmatized person and his/her family, and turn that person into a lifelong customer.

    Of course, that is also a description of how to majorly gas light a person, which is known as a form of mental abuse.

    The First Nations Elders’ ‘medicine wheel for mental health’ looks like a 100% better way to actually help people. Maybe all should adopt that method of “mental health care,” since our current “biomedical model” of mental health care’s gas lighting, mental abuse system has proven it harms rather than helps its clients.

    How shocking, however, a known form of “mental abuse” does indeed cause harm. Yeah to our insanely disgusting, gas lighting, betrayers of humanity, our “invalid” DSM deluded “mental health professionals.” I’m curious, however, why did gas lighting people become a “profession”? What’s “professional” about defaming, poisoning, and gas lighting innocent humans? I’m quite certain gas lighting innocent humans is 100% the opposite of behaving in a “professional” manner.

  2. The Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico have gone back to traditional medicine to help their veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq who have been labeled with PTSD. They are having much greater success in helping their people than the approach taken by White medicine, which is to drug people to the gills with neuroleptics and those damned “antidepressants”. I suspect that anything would be better than what the wonderful “mental health system” does, which is to drug people without even asking people what they think is happening and what is wrong.