First Nations and Inuit youth who abuse solvents are one of the most highly stigmatized substance-abusing groups in Canada. Drawing on a residential treatment response that is grounded in a culture-based model of resiliency, this article discusses the cultural implications for psychiatry's individualized approach to treating mental disorders. A systematic review of articles published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry during the past decade, augmented with a review of Canadian and international literature, revealed a gap in understanding and practice between Western psychiatric disorder-based and Aboriginal culture-based approaches to treatment and healing from substance abuse and mental disorders. Differing conceptualizations of mental health and substance abuse are discussed from Western psychiatric and Aboriginal worldviews, with a focus on connection to self, community, and political context. Applying an Aboriginal method of knowledge translation-storytelling-experiences from front-line workers in a youth solvent abuse treatment centre relay the difficulties with applying Western responses to Aboriginal healing. This lends to a discussion of how psychiatry can capitalize on the growing debate regarding the role of culture in the treatment of Aboriginal youth who abuse solvents. There is significant need for culturally competent psychiatric research specific to diagnosing and treating First Nations and Inuit youth who abuse substances, including solvents. Such understanding for front-line psychiatrists is necessary to improve practice. A health promotion perspective may be a valuable beginning point for attaining this understanding, as it situates psychiatry's approach to treating mental disorders within the etiology for Aboriginal Peoples.
We examined stigma experiences and its impact among patients (n = 41) hospitalized for mental illness. We studied their characteristics contributing to the expectation, intensity, and frequency of stigma they could experience. Opinions were compared on the Experiences with the Stigma of Mental Illness scale measuring stigma experiences and impact. There were differences on perceived stigma in: being 19 years or younger at first symptom or treatment, having had one previous psychiatric hospitalizations and having attended one or more outpatient sessions. Those having attended outpatient sessions, being previously hospitalized or younger suffered more impact.
An outcome evaluation was conducted to obtain psychiatric inpatients' perspectives on acute care mental health treatment and services. The applicability of diagnostic categories based on affective, non-affective, and schizoaffective disorder were considered in the predictability of responses to treatment regimens and the related services provided in an inpatient psychiatric unit. A multidimensional approach was used to survey patients, which included the DAI-30, the BMQ, the SERVQUAL, and the CSQ-8. Overall, findings indicate that inpatient satisfaction could be improved with tailoring treatment to suit their respective symptoms. Furthermore, this exploratory study demonstrates some preliminary support for the inclusion of patients with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder as a separate group toward improving acute mental health care while hospitalized.
The consequences of alcoholism on the mental health of spouses of lifetime at-risk drinkers are only known from studies on alcoholics already in treatment. A retrospective analysis was conducted using data from a Quebec community health survey. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, our goal was to ascertain the mental health of female spouses living with a male lifetime at-risk drinker. Secondly, we wanted to examine the relationship between male lifetime at-risk drinkers (aged 30-54 years) and the psychological distress of their nondrinking female spouses. Lifetime at-risk drinking, for the purposes of this study, was defined as having at least two positive answers to the CAGE questionnaire. Couples wherein both spouses were deemed not at-risk for problem drinking by the CAGE instrument (0 or 1 positive answer) formed the control group. Psychological distress was measured using the Indice de Détresse Psychologique de l'Enquête Santé Québec (Préville, M., Boyer, R., Potvin, L., Perreault, C., & Légaré, G. (1992). La détresse psychologique: détermination de la fiabilité et de la validité de la mesure utilisée dans l'enquête Santé Québec. Cahier de recherches #7, Montréal, Santé Québec.). It measures symptoms of anxiety, depression, aggressivity, and cognitive impairments. Scores of >or=22 (out of 100) were indicative of a high level of psychological distress. This study confirmed higher levels of psychological distress in female spouses of male lifetime at-risk drinkers in the general population. An exploratory study examined the association between the psychological distress of female spouses and each of the following nine independent variables: male partner lifetime at-risk drinker, stressful life events, job situation, socioeconomic status, perceived health status, presence of children less than 15 years, length of the marital relationship, presence of a confidant, and availability of social support. Lifetime at-risk drinking is a risk factor for the spouse's psychological distress. An examination of the demographic characteristics related to alcohol intake in male lifetime at-risk drinkers is also described in this study.