Nelson, S. (2012). Challenging hidden assumptions: colonial norms as determinants of Aboriginal mental health. University of British Columbia.

This paper examines how mental health service research and discourse reflect such remnant colonial ideas and, as such, constitute a social determinant of mental health for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The paper is organized as follows. First, the methods used to gather information are briefly described. A second section looks at what areas research tends to focus on with regard to mental health for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Third, a brief historical look at mental health and its relationship with colonialism around the world is presented, followed by a discussion of some hidden assumptions that stem from colonialism and can be found in the present-day mental health literature. A fifth section looks at the concept of social determinants of health as a framework for understanding health inequities, and positions colonialism in this framework. Next, a section on cultural competence and cultural humility is meant to offer some possibilities for how mental health research in Canada might better incorporate Aboriginal views of the world. A concluding section describes what Aboriginal scholars are saying about mental health and colonialism, and how mental health services are changing in response.