Indigenous youth co-develop a new way to measure their health – CMAJ

Indigenous communities across Canada are adapting a new way of measuring child and youth well-being with a tool co-designed by Indigenous youth. Those behind the tool say Indigenous-developed health measures are desperately lacking, although vitally important as communities continue to contend with the mental health fallout of colonization.

Called “Aaniish Naa Gegii” (Ojibwe for “How are you?”), the tablet-based tool asks 62 questions across the four aspects of health represented by the Medicine Wheel: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Communities use the tool, also known as the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Wellbeing Measure (ACHWM), to assess the needs of groups of young people. For example, it’s been used to measure the need for more school-based supports to address bullying. It’s also been used to evaluate existing programs and to identify individual kids in need of intervention.

Development of the tool started in 2010, when Mary Jo Wabano, health services director for Wiikwemkoong First Nation in northern Ontario, realized that all available measures for evaluating a youth mental health program were designed using a Western lens. “There were no spiritual components to any of the measures,” says Wabano. “The mainstream questions didn’t resonate with the community.”

Read More:

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More