Laurence J. Kirmayer

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, a quarterly scientific journal published by Sage (UK) and directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of Psychiatry, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital in Montreal where he conducts research on mental health services for immigrants and refugees, psychiatry in primary care, the mental health of Canadian Aboriginal peoples, and the anthropology of psychiatry.

He holds a CIHR Senior Investigator Award for a research program entitled The integration of culture in psychiatric theory and practice, which includes studies on the relevance of the cultural formulation in psychiatric consultation and a cross-national comparative study of models of mental health care for multicultural societies.

His past research includes funded studies on the development and evaluation of a cultural consultation service in mental health, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth in Nunavik (Northern Québec), and the role of metaphor in psychiatric theory and practice.

Dr Kirmayer founded and directs the annual Summer Program in Social and Cultural Psychiatry at McGill. He is also founder and Co-Director of the National Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. He co-edited the volumes, Current Concepts of Somatization (American Psychiatric Press, 1991), Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2007), andHealing Traditions: The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (University of British Columbia Press). For further information see the description of the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit of the Jewish General Hospital.

Healing Traditions: The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: University/College;

Aboriginal peoples in Canada have diverse cultures but share common social and political challenges that have contributed to their experiences of health and illness. This collection addresses the origins of mental health and social problems and the emergence of culturally responsive approaches to services and health promotion. Healing Traditions is not a handbook of practice but a resource for thinking critically about current issues in the mental health of indigenous peoples.

The book is divided into four sections: an overview of the mental health of indigenous peoples; origins and representations of social suffering; transformations of identity and community; and traditional healing and mental health services. Cross-cutting themes include: the impact of colonialism, sedentarization, and forced assimilation; the importance of land for indigenous identity and an ecocentric self; notions of space and place as part of the cultural matrix of identity and experience; and processes of healing and spirituality as sources of resilience.

Offering a unique combination of mental health and socio-cultural perspectives, Healing Traditions will be useful to all concerned with the well being of Aboriginal peoples including health professionals, community workers, planners and administrators, social scientists, educators, and students.

Also available in hardcover.

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