Consultation to Remote and Indigenous Communities

Cotton, M-E.; Nadeau, L.; Kirmayer, L. (2013)

Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care. L. Kirmayer, C. Rousseau & J. Guzder (Eds.)

Springer | 223-244

Most models of mental health services have been developed in urban centres, with large populations and many specialized resources. Rural and remote communities pose challenges to these models for reasons of geography, social structure and culture. In Canada and other countries, rural and remote communities include a high proportion of Indigenous peoples, with important cultural differences from the urban population. In this chapter, we discuss the role of cultural consultation in providing mental health services for remote and rural communities, with an emphasis on the mental health of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The authors have worked as psychiatric consultants to First Nations and Inuit communities in Northern Quebec and draw from this experience and the work of the CCS to outline key issues for cultural consultation in this setting. The major social determinants of health and contextual factors that are distinctive for remote communities and Indigenous populations are reviewed. Models of service discussed include: onsite delivery of mental health services through collaborative care models; itinerant consultants; telepsychiatry; and satellite services. Mental health services for Indigenous communities need to be provided in culturally appropriate ways, both through supporting the use of traditional healing approaches and ensuring that mainstream mental health services are culturally safe and competent.