About the Promoting Life Together Collaborative
The Promoting Life Together Collaborative modelled a co-designed learning program, bringing together multi-disciplinary teams from across northern, rural and remote parts of Canada using a shared learning approach. The name of the collaborative was re-framed to focus on ‘life promotion’, recognizing the need to take a broader and more encompassing approach to the issue of suicide, to consider all aspects of one’s life and community wellness.
Life promotion is an Indigenous paradigm shift that encompasses both suicide prevention and life promotion to reduce premature unnatural death, which also represents an opportunity to educate the non-Indigenous world about how to promote wellness. This work embraced the holistic approach to mental wellness articulated in the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, a framework that addresses mental wellness among First Nations in Canada. It identifies ways to enhance service coordination among various systems and support culturally safe delivery of services.
The overall goals of the collaborative were to:
- Support the development of meaningful partnerships with teams to work alongside community members (First Nations and/or Métis), health authorities, persons with lived experience and other community partners
- Provide learning opportunities for understanding and applying wise practices for life promotion and First Nations mental wellness frameworks
- Support teams to enhance their capacity towards culturally safe environments to promote health transformation
- Enhance the capacity of teams to design, implement and evaluate improvement initiatives together and alongside communities
- Strengthen the capacity of HEC to collaborate with, and learn from First Nation and Métis partners and communities on health improvement initiatives
The Promoting Life Together Collaborative formally ended in December 2019. The Guidance Group renewed its partnership to focus on knowledge sharing and sustainability, beginning with the development of a knowledge sharing protocol and knowledge sharing products.
The Promoting Life Together Collaborative was guided by seven principles, developed together, and in partnership with the Guidance Group. These principles include:
- Cultural humility/safety and reconciliation is an ongoing journey, and opportunities to further knowledge and capacity will be emphasized throughout the Collaborative.
- The voice of Indigenous peoples, families, communities, patients, youth, caregivers, and individuals with lived experience will guide the Collaborative, and teams will be expected to model this approach.
- Indigenous knowledge is recognized as evidence and will guide all stages of the collaborative (development, implementation and evaluation).
- An Indigenous social determinants of health lens has been, and will continue to be, applied to the work of the Collaborative. Mental health is influenced by many factors including culture, life experiences, colonization workplace or other environments, and the social and economic conditions that shape our lives.
- Respect, listening to and valuing other perspectives and other ways of knowing, learning together and collaboration will be modelled and championed.
- A strength-based approach that fosters hope to address suicide prevention/life promotion will be applied.
- Collaborative action in health transformation promotes equity through mutual recognition, respect, sharing and responsibility.
These principles recognize the unique context of this work and the capacity required to make meaningful systemic change in the way that mental health services are delivered, while acknowledging that teams within the collaborative work with First Nations and Métis, communities and organizations.
The Promoting Life Together Collaborative brought together six multidisciplinary teams from across northern, rural and remote parts of Canada.
The Guidance Group
An external Guidance Group was established to provide guidance for the ongoing design, delivery and evaluation of the collaborative. This group of leaders in Indigenous health and wellness, community engagement, suicide prevention and life promotion, guide HEC staff (the Northern and Indigenous Health team), in identifying and responding to the common needs of the teams, including curriculum development, content, tools, resources and timelines. The Guidance Group provides input into evaluation approaches for the collaborative.
Co-Chairs of the Guidance Group
Carol Fancott, Director, Patient Engagement and Partnerships, HEC (previously CFHI)
William (Bill) Mussell, Adult Educator, Coast Salish/Stó:lō “People of the River” Board Member, First Peoples Wellness Circle, PLT Coach/Mentor
Members of the PLT Guidance Group
Kelly Brownbill, Indigenous Educator/Consultant, PLT Coach/Mentor
Ed Connors, Psychologist, Member of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke, Board member, First Peoples Wellness Circle, PLT Coach/Mentor
Albert Dumont, Spiritual Advisor for the PLT Collaborative
Carol Hopkins, Executive Director, Thunderbird Partnership Foundation
Marion Maar, Associate Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, External Evaluation Lead
Denise McCuaig, Métis, PLT Coach/Mentor
Despina Papadopoulos, Senior Program Lead, Northern and Indigenous Health Team, HEC (previously CFHI)
Nancy Parker, Executive Director, Marymound, Board Chair, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, PLT Coach/Mentor
Brenda Restoule, Psychologist, Anishinabek from Dokis First Nation, CEO, First Peoples Wellness Circle, PLT Coach/Mentor
Mariette Sutherland, External Knowledge Translation Lead
Will Landon, Youth Representative
Mara Grunau, Executive Director, Centre for Suicide Prevention
Karla Thorpe, Interim Vice President, Organizational Performance and Public Affairs, Mental Health Commission of Canada