Case Synopsis

Kieran, a young man from River Rock First Nation (RRFN), is frustrated that there are no evidence-based, culturally-safe, and male-specific mental health resources available at any of the treatment centres he has attended. Kieran and his friend Jake partner with Jade, a recent PhD graduate, to initiate a boys’ and men’s mental health program in the community. Using the information Jade gathered for her PhD as a foundation, as well as drawing on applied research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the team uses a participatory action research approach, including photovoice, to address mental health challenges of boys and men in RRFN.

The goal of this case is to provide a platform for the reader to think critically about how mental health concerns can be addressed in Indigenous communities and have meaningful impact using the resources available to the community. This case will also allow students to explore methods that can be employed to build community capacity to develop evidence-based and culturally appropriate programming within a resource-scarce environment. After reading the case, students will start low on the Bloom's cognitive taxonomy pyramid; through class discussions and instructor guidance the learners will advance to a higher cognitive domain.

Case Objectives

  1. Identify and differentiate between the proximal, intermediate, and distal social cultural determinants of health (SCDOH) that affect the mental health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and specifically in the fictional community of RRFN.
  2. Explain mandatory ethical research principles used when conducting research with Indigenous Peoples.
  3. Discuss the importance of community involvement in research projects.
  4. Critically analyze potential intervention strategies to mitigate mental health disparities using the resources available to the community.

Case Study Questions

  1. Why is it important to consider the SCDOH of the community you are working with?
  2. What are the potential risks of participatory action research? How can these risks be mitigated?
  3. Do you think this program would work in other Indigenous communities? Why or why not? How can the transition to other communities be made easier?
  4. How would you implement a mental health program with little to no funding?
  5. How would you ensure that this program continues when the funding stops?


First Nation, Indigenous, participatory action research, mental health, addiction, male

Additional Author Information

Jasmine Fournier, BHSc, MPH

Julie George, PhD, Independent Scientist

Samantha Wells, PhD, Scientist

Lloy Wylie, PhD, Assistant Professor



Recommended Citation

Fournier, J., George, J., Wells, S., PhD, Wylie, L. (2017). “I know there is hope, even in a world of loss”: A Local Community-Based Intervention to Address Mental Health Challenges Among First Nations Men and Boys. in: John-Baptiste, A. & McKinley, G. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2017. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.