Listening to the Communities : Perspectives of Remote and Rural First Nations Community Members on Telemental Health

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ConferenceRural Health: Connecting Research and Policy, September 23-25, 2010, Fredericton, New Brunswick
AbstractTelemental health involves technologies such as videoconferencing to deliver mental health services and education, and to connect individuals and communities for healing and health. In remote and rural First Nations there are often challenges both to obtaining mental healthcare within the community and to working with external mental health workers. Telemental health is a service approach that can address some of these challenges and potentially support First Nations in their goal of improving mental health and well-being. This paper explores the perspectives on telemental health of community members living in two rural and remote First Nations communities in Ontario: Mishkeegogamang and Fort Severn. Using a participatory research design, we interviewed 59 community members, asking about their experiences with and thoughts on using technologies and their attitudes toward telemental health specifically. A thematic analysis of this qualitative data, and a descriptive quantitative analysis of the information reveal the diversity of attitudes among community members. Community members’ perspectives on the usefulness and appropriateness of telemental health greatly influence the level of engagement with the service. Valuing Indigenous knowledge can help us understand community members’ experiences of and concerns with telemental health and inform more successful and appropriate initiatives. We explore the continuum of community members’ perspectives – ranging from enthusiasm and embracing the technology use to hesitancy and rejection. With the invaluable support of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine co-authors (including the community telehealth coordinators), we offer ways forward to address concerns identified by the community members.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Institute for Information Technology
Peer reviewedNo
NPARC number16285583
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Record identifier84bf398c-6af0-444e-9fe0-39a240552e31
Record created2010-11-03
Record modified2016-05-09
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