• Latest trends - Mental health and wellness
Mar 13, 2019

Mental health is still considered a taboo subject for many people today. Yet, mental health disorders are common. It is estimated that approximately one in five people will suffer from mental illness during their lifetime.1

Did you know that the Quebec First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) focuses on disorders such as anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity, autism spectrum disorder, learning disorders and mood disorders?

Mental health disorders

The figure below presents the main mental health and behavioral disorders diagnosed by a health professional and reported by individuals 12 years and over in interviews. We can observe that anxiety disorders and mood disorders are higher for both women and men.

It is also important to point out that mental health and wellness are influenced by many factors such as: income and social situation, level of education, social and physical environments, health services, culture, social support network, employment and working conditions, geographical context, gender, biological and physiological components.2

Physical health and mental health

Using the results of the RHS, it is possible to observe a link between physical health and mental health among First Nations. It can be seen that people who rate their physical health as fair or poor are more likely to report having fair or poor mental health. [See the box below for the wording of the questionnaire]. Also, these same people show signs of moderate or severe psychological distress. It can be seen in the graph below that a negative perception of mental health is much higher among people who report poorer physical health. Among those aged 12 and over who reported fair or poor mental health, almost one-third (27%) also report fair or poor physical health.

In the questionnaire, questions about physical and mental health are the same. The participant is asked: “In general, would you say that your health (Q1) / mental health (Q2) is ...?”

1 – Excellent

2 – Very good

3 – Good

4 – Fair

5 – Poor

In order to deepen the reflection on the results of the RHS and the social determinants of health or other themes according to your needs, we can accompany you in this exercise.

Did you know that …

Each year, on February 1, the FNQLHSSC promotes the First Nations Wellness Day to foster awareness on individual and collective wellness among First Nations. In 2011, the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) adopted a resolution establishing this day, following a major Summit on Addictions.

In honour of the 2019 theme My Wellness, it’s up to me and I inspire myself!, the FNQLHSSC developed a fun tool to encourage people to reflect on their wellness. It is a deck made up of 60 inspirational cards to use on a daily basis that comes with a poster promoting the First Nations Wellness Day. The cards contain messages that encourage people to be positive, that foster self-esteem and raise awareness on individual wellness.


Communities and organizations interested in obtaining additional copies can send a request by email at

The results presented in this summary come from the Quebec First Nations RHS – Phase 3. This survey was conducted between February 2015 and May 2016 in 21 First Nations communities in Quebec.

For more information, please contact Joannie Gray Roussel, Support Agent – Research and Evaluation at 418-842-1540 ext. 2509.


1 Québec, Portail santé mieux-être, Mental Health,  [accessed on Jan. 24, 2019].

2 Mouvement santé mentale Québec, Déterminants sociaux de la santé,  [accessed on Jan. 24, 2019].