Development and Cultural Adaptation of a Mental Health Toolkit for Indigenous Youth: A preliminary study



Due to historic and ongoing colonialism and cultural oppression, there is a health inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Culturally adapted mental health promotion programs that build upon resilience are one strategy to address this inequality. The Listening to One Another program (LTOA) is a strengths-based, culturally adapted program designed for Indigenous youth. Due to COVID-19 government restrictions on public gatherings, LTOA program implementation in Indigenous communities has been paused. Working closely with local Indigenous health organizations, this study will evaluate the development and cultural adaptation of a core component of the program into a toolkit which youth can complete at home. Guidelines for best cultural adaptation practices are, however, limited.


The purpose of this research is to identify:

  1. what enhances or hinders the cultural adaptation process;
  2. the methods used for culturally adapting materials;
  3. the logic behind the cultural adaptation process.


To address this limitation, a multiple case study will be conducted. Semi-structured interviews will be held with program facilitators, regional coordinators, Elders, and others involved in the process of culturally adapting LTOA materials. A participatory action research framework will be used to engage community members throughout the research process and to ensure that community members can actively influence the project design and interpretation.


Findings from this study will improve strategies and guidelines for culturally adapting program materials. Comparison across diverse Indigenous health organizations will allow for the identification of structural and contextual factors in the cultural adaptation process.

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McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which peoples of the world now gather. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

Learn more about Indigenous Initiatives at McGill.

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