Despite the increasing emphasis on patient-centred care, and the significant potential for both positive and negative consequences associated with Complementary Therapies, very little is known about the treatment preferences among people living with mental health symptoms in Canada. Variation of preferences and use of mental health care exists across and within cultures, with some cultural groups being less accepting of treatments offered by health care professionals, often with concerns related to medication. In particular, Aboriginal peoples would like to access traditional indigenous healing approaches, but they encounter barriers. Likewise, members of other cultural groups in North America who are indigenous to other continents use healing approaches that have been passed down through generations. In Nova Scotia’s provincial mental health and addictions strategy, improving mental health care for Aboriginal, African Nova Scotian, and new immigrant communities has been set as a priority based on a provincial needs assessment, which indicated that “many Nova Scotians who are members of specific communities have not been served sufficiently by the mental health and addictions care systems for generations.”
Dr. Ingrid Waldron’s presentation will describe the methodology she and her Dalhousie colleagues are using in their pilot study to understand these issues in Halifax Regional Municipality. This study explores the experiences and views among adults from Indigenous, Black Canadian, White European, and other culturally, racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds towards prescribed or self-directed treatments of depression or anxiety, including: conventional health care, complementary therapies, and traditional Indigenous approaches. She will explore the recruitment, data collection, and data analysis approaches and methods the study is employing to identify how treatment experiences, attitudes, and preferences are shaped by various aspects of race, cultural ancestry and cultural identity, age, gender, social class, education level, religion (spiritual or faith-based), and medical diagnosis. She will also discuss how the study is identifying barriers and facilitators to accessing preferred care for mental health symptoms, as well as the factors influencing patient/health care professional shared decision making regarding treatment plans. Finally, she will provide an overview of the multi-pronged knowledge translation strategy the team will be using to disseminate and mobilize data and knowledge from the study.
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