health outcomes

Colonialism is a distal determinant of Indigenous people’s health. It intended to destroy the style of living standards of Indigenous people causing anger and resentment. The history of colonialism must be considered to comprehend the healing process. Residential schooling has stood out as especially damaging to Indigenous people. The Canadian government all the sudden felt the need of educating the Indigenous community. The Residential schools wanted to eradicate the identity, language, cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs of Indigenous children. The children were forcefully separated from their parents without the consent and admitted to the Residential schools far from the reserves. They were taught and expected to follow the European lifestyle and turn to Christianity in the Canadian society. Residential schools had negative and positive impact on individual lives, but it is very rare to be heard of the positive experiences of the students from residential schools. Thesis – The long-term impacts of sexual abuse affects a Residential school survivor’s physical, mental and psychological health.Sexual abuse haunts an individual and is a disturbing reality amongst Indigenous community. It was widespread in Residential schools which allowed government child protection services to get involved in the family. Girls and boys were sexually, physically and psychologically abused not only by priests, staff members but also by their other school mates. Major cause of getting sexually abused was the isolation of children from the family and too much involvement of the staff in the intimate care. Children were beaten, s trapped, had needles shoved into their tongues for speaking their native language and few were shackled to their beds. In residential school, the thin line between punishment and abuse was frequently crossed. It was believed that the student’s independent spirit should be completely lost before they were taught to accept the new European life standards. Long hair has its own significant status in Indigenous culture, but the girls had to cut them off on the very first day. Girls who had their beds wet were often given shock treatments as punishment. Children wanted to return to their home because of harsh punishments but as the Residential schools were in isolated areas it was challenging for them to escape in the span of one night and were often caught. The residential school’s staff and teachers were poorly paid and not screened well which resulted in high rate of sexual abuse. The schools actively suppressed the proof of abuse and various forms of intimidation to silent anyone who tried to complaint. It was difficult for children not only physically and emotionally but psychologically too.In relation to the course objectives the contemporary mental health issues and the historical trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada is closely related to. The long-lasting effects still bothers them socially, spiritually and mentally. The Indian Residential School System is one of the better-known examples of an intergenerational colonial system with impacts that still reverberate today. It is not very easy to say whether the impacts have become better or worse. But in many cases indicators have improved. Indigenous people have shown significant differences in areas such as income and education. Also, the youth smoking rate decreased as people became more aware of the consequences of smoking in long term. On the flip side, some indicators got worse — particularly overcrowded housing in the city, as most of the indigenous people moved to the city for better opportunities. Those people still living in the reserve are unemployed in their community. Others could not work because of the health issue or disability. Indigenous people say that it is not that easy to forget everything about it, but they are trying their best to move forward with positive energy. Increased understanding does not necessarily provide us with the concrete tools for making change.Impacts of residential schooling did not occur independently, but in complicated relationship with other effects. The impact of sexual abuse was not only observed at individual level, but also at family and community level and then passed on from generation to generation. The denial from speaking their native language and following culture resulted in additional feelings of isolation, shame and anger. Intergenerational trauma has affected the psychological process of Indigenous people approaching from residential schools expecting them to survive the abuse as well. The relationship between the child, parent and cultural supports was violated. The experience of being taken away from their parent was traumatic and lead to significant damage in the child’s growth. Those children subsequently still struggle today. Residential schools violated Indigenous people’s belief that the world is a safe place and that people can be trusted. It became difficult for an Aboriginal person to be trusted by non-Aboriginal for anything. Sexual abuse led to the use of drugs and substance use. The abused in turn became abusers, creating a cycle of childhood sexual violation. Physical health outcomes linked to residential schooling included poorer general and self-rated health, increased rates of chronic and infectious diseases. Effects on mental and emotional well-being included mental distress, depression, addictive behaviours and substance misuse, stress, and suicidal behaviours. Many children developed negative behaviours such as cultural shame and silence against abuse. The children suffered the psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorder which impacted their future lives as adults. The parental skills were impacted because of which many survivors had difficulty raising their own kids in future. All they knew was mistreatment to their kids. Children traumatized from early separation from their mothers especially display low self esteem, anxiety, depression and other social skills. High rates of suicide, substance abuse and family dysfunction are because of the negative impact of residential schools. Intergenerational sexual abuse is one key reason behind widespread substance abuse, a form of self-medication that helps both victims and wrongdoers push down their emotional pain and bury their shame. Sexual abuse is open secret in Indigenous community with lots of stigma attached to it. It is difficult to access the abuse accurately because of the lack of evidence. The abuse is directly or indirectly impacted by the Residential schools. Initiating trauma awareness program in Indigenous community will help in creating awareness among the community which will assist Indigenous people in acknowledging the existence of sexual abuse and saying that it is not okay. If we do not talk about it, we are as just as guilty as the abuser and encouraging the abuser by covering up the issue. An individual should be encouraged to focus on making positive and meaningful connections. Being adaptable in accepting the change is the part of living in moving towards goals while taking decisive actions. There are lots of healing centres in the city known and funded by the Canadian government for the Indigenous people to get help from the therapists. But they often deny using the services due to issues of confidentiality. It is very difficult for the therapists to build that level of trust and rapport with Indigenous people in order to treat them but once that phase is crossed the transition is easy and beneficial to the Indigenous people. There should be a better integration of suited health care and increased participation of the Aboriginal peoples in the creation and management of health programs and services The process of reconciliation between the Aboriginal people and the rest of the country is not only about allowing Aboriginal people to heal with many health programs put in place by the government; it is also about non-Aboriginal people learning to bear the responsibilities they have had in the issue. Each Canadian individual has a small part of responsibility and must acknowledge the ways he has profited from the inequities and injustices perpetrated in the name of the Canadian religious and political authorities. Informing indigenous community about the youth plan will build relationships with Indigenous community and Community Advisory Boards. It will increase engagement, participation and volunteerism of Indigenous people in future efforts to address youth. During consultations, asking for Indigenous feedback will reflect their concerns among local indigenous issues. Ensuring no harm to Indigenous community will increase indigenous control, ownership, interest and benefits in youth plan. Also, partnership with indigenous community in approve media coverage will reflect the interest and concerns of indigenous people community.The goal is to increase self confidence and self determination. I understand that it is easier said than done to ask the Indigenous people to forget about their past. The road is not easy however as much of their culture was lost or destroyed by assimilation, a large part of which was established of the many residential schools across Canada. Canadian government and the Indigenous people will have to work together to rebuild the successful culture. The potential impact of spreading the trauma awareness program will bring awareness among individual and the events around them. There are few unique needs of Indigenous people that I learned in order to incorporate to treatment planning. It includes treating the Indigenous person with the same level of respect and dignity I would treat non- indigenous person. Also, empowering the Indigenous community to take ownership of their health-related problems solutions is mandatory. As a psychiatric nurse, I would make efforts to talk to the Indigenous person in acceptable manner and treat them with dignity, which would encourage them to access the services again in the future.“Getting over the past, Getting over the residential schools”.

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