How has the COVID‑19 pandemic impacted the mental and physical health of Indigenous people in Canada: Taking stock of challenges, needs and factors of resilience in the context of a global crisis
The COVID‑19 pandemic has deeply impacted the mental and physical health of individuals around the Globe. Significant increases in stress, anxiety and depression levels have been reported. Furthermore, it is anticipated that many chronic illnesses unrelated to COVID‑19 may worsen because they are receiving lower medical attention. Concerns have been raised about disproportionate direct and indirect impacts on Indigenous health. Firstly, the cumulative pressure that this crisis is imposing on healthcare systems is likely to aggravate pre-existing difficulties faced by Indigenous peoples to access appropriate and culturally safe healthcare. Secondly, the progressive widening of socioeconomic disparities resulting from this crisis is taking a greater toll on Indigenous communities. Thirdly, fundamental specificities and strengths of Indigenous communities may influence the health-related consequences of this pandemic. Led by the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, in collaboration with Indigenous patient representatives and an interdisciplinary research team, this project will converge Indigenous methods nested in wholistic health approaches with patient-oriented research to investigate the direct and indirect impacts of this global crisis on the health of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This will be done in three phases via Indigenous-led : i) analyses of existing survey data collected during the first pandemic wave, ii) collection of oral/narrative evidence during virtual focus groups structured around Sharing Circles traditions, and ii) co-creation and diffusion of a survey focused on Indigenous health. Knowledge translation and advocacy activities will take place dynamically across the different project phases to enable rapid impacts.