Housing Occupant

Stress

It is important for Housing staff to identify signs that a tenant may be experiencing stress. These signs could include a change in normal behaviour (sudden lateness in rental payments, issues with damage to rental unit, complaints from neighbours about yelling/arguing), and there are ways in which we could provide the tools to avoid stress attributable to financial disarray, organization, time management. Ways in which assistance could be provided is by mandating a financial literacy training for all tenants.

Bullying

Bullying is defined as harmful and unwanted behaviour that is done purposely and repeatedly. In Canada, at least 1 in 3 adolescent students have reported being bullied. The effects of this behaviour can have long-term physical and psychological consequences, it can even lead to mental health problems, suicidal behaviour, or the consideration of violent behaviour.

There are many forms in which bullying can present itself:

  • Physical bullying – harassing someone by hitting, shoving, or using any other use of physical force.
  • Social bullying – harassing someone by excluding, humiliating, or spreading rumours about someone.
  • Cyberbullying – harassing someone over social media, text, email, or other digital channels.
  • Discriminatory bullying – harassing someone based on their culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else perceived as making them “different.”
  • Emotional or psychological bullying – harassing someone with verbal attacks, name-calling, threatening or teasing.

If you are experiencing bullying, it is important to remember that it is not your fault, and you are not alone. Here are some ways that you can take action:

  • Stay safe by avoiding certain people or situations and surround yourself with people you trust.
  • Report it. Keep records of any bullying incidents and report them to someone you trust like a parent, caregiver, teacher, or another safe adult.
  • Get support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it be from a friend or a trusted adult, you should not feel alone.
  • Take care of yourself.
Substance Abuse

 

 

Mental Health/Suicide Prevention

Mental health reflects our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel and act. Mental wellness is a personal and subjective internal resource that allows us to feel balanced, work productively and adapt to change. Having positive mental health and positive mental well-being allows us to function well and cope with the challenges of ups and downs of life.

There are many factors that contribute to our mental health and wellness at both individual and community levels. These includes historical and social contexts, health behaviours and personal health practices, healthy relationships and more. Some of the determinants of health that affect mental health and suicide are based on the consequences of social and political conditions that have historically harmed First Nation people.

Early identification and intervention of mental health is critical and can lead to better health outcomes in life. As many mental health issues of adulthood begin in the earlier years, it’s important to be attentive to early signs and symptoms:

  • Getting significantly lower marks in school
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Acting out or rebelling
  • Lack of energy or motivation

When children and youth are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, parents need to seek professional help and get the medical attention they need to avoid the condition worsening.

For young people between the ages of 15 and 19, suicide is the second leading cause of death after accidents. Furthermore, suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age. The reasons for the high rates of suicide among youth in Aboriginal communities are complex and longstanding.

There are other factors that can put a person at higher risk of suicide, here are just a couple:

  • History of mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or substance abuse.
  • A person’s sex (females attempt suicide more often than males, but males are more likely to succeed in their attempt)
  • The person experienced a significant personal loss or crisis
  • The person is living with past or present trauma or abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is at risk for suicide, it is important to be on high alert for these warning signs:

  • Making suicide statements
  • Being preoccupied with death
  • Giving away belongings
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having aggressive or hostile behaviour
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviour
  • Significant mood changes
  • If the individual is showing warning sings, here are some things you can do to help:
  • Reassure them that they are not alone and that you are there for them.
  • Always listen careful and don’t pass judgement.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Call a crisis line.

Suicidal behaviour can be very distressing for both the person at risk and those who care about them. It can impact friends, family members, and the community. While it is important to take care of the person at risk, we need to remember to take care of ourselves.

If you, or someone you know, are in crisis and considering suicide or need support, here are some helpful resources and helplines:

Kids Help Phone

  • 1-800-668-6868
  • http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/
  • A free, anonymous, and confidential professional phone counselling and online counselling, available 24/7 for kids and youth 20 years of age and younger.

Crisis Services Canada

  • 1-833-456-4566
  • A free support phone helpline available 24/7 for anyone concerned about suicide.

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

After a Suicide Attempt: A Guide for Family and Friends

  • This guide is to help you when someone you care about has made a suicide attempt or demonstrated other suicide behaviours.

Children and Youth with Thoughts of Suicide: Guide for Parents and Caregivers

  • This guide provides things that parents and caregivers can do to support their children and youth thinking about suicide.

Toolkit for people who have been impacted by a suicide loss

  • This toolkit is designed for people with lived experience related to a suicide loss.
Domestic Abuse

The issue of domestic violence, specifically against women in First Nations communities, demands immediate action. Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological abuse by a current or former partner. Indigenous women and girls are at disproportionate risk and face among the highest rates of violence of all population groups in Canada.

Indigenous women are 2.5 times more likely to experience spousal violence and are three times more likely to experience violent victimization than non-Indigenous women. The fear of victimization, along with barriers created by systemic violence and trauma, can prevent victims from seeking help.

Abuse can result in short and long-term consequences on a survivor's physical and mental health. Some effects linked to violence are anxiety, depression, distress, eating disorders, disturbances to sleep, and physical pain. It is also critical to recognize that domestic violence impacts the victim, as well as their family and community.

If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, it is important to be aware of these warning signs:

  • Their partner puts them down often
  • Their partner dominates the conversation
  • They are apologetic or make excuses for their partners' behaviour
  • They show changes in their personality
  • They isolate themselves from friends and family
  • They have unexplained injuries
  • They are constantly worried about upsetting their partner

If the individual is showing warning signs, here are some ways that you can help:

  • Be supportive and listen
  • Ask how you can help
  • Offer another location as a safe space
  • Support them to create a safety plan
  • Call your provincial crisis line or service provider who supports survivors of domestic abuse

If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, please call 911. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse and require support, here are some helpful resources and helplines:

DAWN Canada

Shelter Safe

Child Abuse

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that causes injury or emotional damage to a child or youth. This abuse results in severe emotional harm and long-lasting effects throughout the child's life. The child may have a damaged sense of self, a lack of trust, difficulty forming healthy relationships, feelings of worthlessness, trouble regulating emotions, and more. The perpetrator of abuse is commonly someone the child knows and trusts, such as a family member or an acquaintance. A higher proportion of Indigenous people self-reported experiencing some form of childhood physical and/or sexual maltreatment before the age of 15 compared to non-Indigenous people. Two in every five Aboriginal people reported having experienced childhood physical and/or sexual abuse.

Abusive behavior can present itself in many different forms, but these are the five most common types:

Physical Abuse - The purposeful application of unreasonable force by a person in a position of trust or authority to any part of a child's body.

  • Forceful shaking, pushing, grabbing, hitting, kicking, burning.

Emotional Abuse - Behaviour that harms a child psychologically, emotionally or spiritually.

  • Hostile treatment, frequent verbal abuse, emotional neglect, attacking a child's self-esteem, shaming, humiliating.

Neglect - Failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child's physical or psychological necessities of life.

  • Physical neglect, medical neglect, abandonment, educational neglect, failure to supervise.

Sexual Abuse - Involvement of a child in an act of sexual gratification or exposure of a child to sexual contact, activity or behaviour. The abuse can be contact or non-contact.

  • Penetration, oral sex, fondling, voyeurism, sex talk, sexual exploitation.

Exposure to family violence - Allowing a child to witness or be aware of violence occurring between a caregiver and their partner or other family members.

  • Allowing the child to see, hear or be exposed to signs of violence.

There are many factors at individual, family and community levels that can put a child at greater risk of experiencing abuse or neglect, here are just a few:

  • Family/domestic violence is present in the household
  • A caregiver who is abusing alcohol or drugs
  • A caregiver who lacks parenting skills and doesn't understand children's needs or development
  • A caregiver who is experiencing high levels of stress
  • A caregiver with mental health issues
  • A caregiver who was abused or neglected as a child
  • Families that are isolated from and not connected to other people.
  • Families with high conflict and negative communication styles
  • High rates of violence and crime in the community
  • High rates of poverty and limited educational and economic opportunities in the community
  • Communities with unstable housing

The warning signs for child abuse can vary according to the type of abuse being inflicted on the child. If you suspect that a child or youth is being abused or neglected, here are some key warning signs:

Warning signs of physical abuse:

  • The child has injuries that are not consistent with explanations.
  • The child has several injuries that are in various stages of healing.
  • The child is wary of adults.
  • The child may flinch if touched unexpectedly.
  • The child is highly compliant and eager to please.

Warning signs of emotional abuse:

  • The child is extremely withdrawn
  • The child is overly compliant and is fearful of doing something wrong.
  • The child shows extremes in behaviour.
  • The child acts inappropriately adult or inappropriately infantile.

Warning signs of child neglect:

  • The child has consistently poor hygiene.
  • The child has unattended physical problems or medical needs.
  • The child engages in delinquent acts.
  • The child is frequently unsupervised.
  • The child wears ill-fitting, dirty, or inappropriate clothing for the weather
  • The child is often absent from school.

Warning signs of sexual abuse:

  • The child has trouble walking or sitting.
  • The child has an STD or is pregnant.
  • The child displays knowledge of sexual acts inappropriate for their age.
  • The child displays seductive behaviour.

There are some protective factors that may lessen the likelihood of children being abused or neglected:

  • A caregiver who practices nurturing parenting skills and provides emotional support.
  • A caregiver who has a steady employment.
  • Families with strong social support networks and stable, positive relationships with people around them.
  • Families with caring adults outside the family who serve as role models.
  • Communities with access to safe, stable housing.
  • Communities where families have access to economic and financial help.

If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, please call 911. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing child abuse and require support, here are some helpful resources and helplines:

Kids Help Phone

  • 1-800-668-6868
  • http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/
  • A free, anonymous, and confidential professional phone counselling and online counselling, available 24/7 for kids and youth 20 years of age and younger.

Hope for Wellness Help Line

  • 1-855-242-3310
  • Hope for Wellness Chat
  • A free phone helpline and online chatline that offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.

First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCS)

  • www.fncaringsociety.com
  • (613) 230-5885
  • The Caring Society promotes the well-being of all First Nations children, youth, families and communities, with a particular focus on the prevention of, and response to, child maltreatment.

Indigenous Kids Rights Path

  • www.indigenouskidsrightspath.com
  • This webpage provides a list of organizations throughout Canada that can offer urgent help.

Child Maltreatment in Canada

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto - Signs of Abuse and Neglect