Daphne Hutt-MacLeod, Director of Mental Health Services
30 Medicine Trail
Eskasoni, Nova Scotia
F (902) 379-2905
The Eskasoni First Nation is a band government of the Mi’kmaq located alongside the Bras d’Or Lake on Eastern Cape Breton Island. The rural community has a population of approximately 3,752 on-Reserve and 660 off-Reserve and on other Reserves. The community is tight-knit with a rich cultural tradition and a growing young population. Eskasoni First Nation has been selected as one of the twelve sites across Canada to implement the ACCESS Open Minds project and will be assessing the long-term benefits for this community, as well as providing valuable feedback for transforming youth mental health services across the country.
Eskasoni’s journey to mental health wellness began with an amalgamation of services into Eskasoni Mental Health Services (EMHS) in 2010 and has led to many initiatives to improve services in the community. ACCESS Open Minds will build on what has already been learned and established through our collaborative model of care and will be implemented by all EMHS staff, not just the ACCESS clinician and research assistant.
Like the rest of the project, our site seeks to change the way youth access services, to engage young people in ways that improve individual well-being and the well-being of the community as a whole. This will be done through collaboration with youth, families, caregivers, community organizers, and service providers to ensure seamless access to care and to reduce gaps in services across organizations. This care will be delivered in youth-friendly ways based on the principles of inclusion, respect, participation, empowerment, and hope.
Since 1991, we have worked progressively toward implementing a model that meets the needs of community members by cobbling together a variety of funding opportunities, proposals, and grants. Eskasoni Mental Health Services consists of 6 integrated teams that operate within a Community Mental Health “Fish Net” model.
The Integrated Community Mental Wellness Model consists of six integrated teams
These six teams function within a “Ladder of Care” framework:
Within this model we provide, or are attempting to provide
Our “Womb to Tomb” community-based, community-driven Mental Health & Addictions service delivery model has been informed and guided by extensive client and community input, as well as by research partnerships. We address all mental health, mental wellness, and addictions issues. We have embedded and blended our Mental Health & Addictions model with the provision of cultural teachings, traditional practices, healthy lifestyle initiatives, sports and recreation, or the “Fish Net” Model of Care.
In addition, Western therapeutic interventions and Indigenous cultural practices and teachings are blended together within the “Two-Eyed Seeing” approach, proposed by Eskasoni Elders Albert and Murdena Marshall.
To learn more about Eskasoni Mental Health Services, please peruse some of the following materials:
Liebenberg, L., Sylliboy, A., Davis-Ward, D., & Vincent, A. (2017). Meaningful engagement of Indigenous youth in PAR: The role of community partnerships. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16, 1-16. DOI: 10.1177/1609406917704095
Reich, J., Liebenberg, J., Denny, M., Battiste, H., Bernard, A., Christmas, K., Dennis, R., Denny, D., Knockwood, I., Nicholas, R., & Paul. H. (2017). In this together: Relational accountability and meaningful research and dissemination with youth. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16, 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/1609406917717345
Liebenberg, L., & Hutt-MacLeod, D. (2017). Aboriginal community development approaches in response to neoliberal policy: The example of Eskasoni Mental Health Services. In P. Dolan & N. Frost (Eds.), The Handbook of Global Child Welfare. London: Routledge.