• Global approach to indigenous mental health
  • International scholarly contributions
  • Distinctive eclectic discussions that translate theory to practice Includes cases studies

About this book

This book brings together Indigenous and allied experts addressing mental health among Indigenous peoples across the traditional territories commonly known as the Americas (e.g. Canada, US, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil), Asia (e.g. China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia), Africa (e.g. South Africa, Central and West Africa) and Oceania (New Guinea and Australia) to exchange knowledge, perspectives and methods for mental health research and service delivery. Around the world, Indigenous peoples have experienced marginalization, rapid culture change and absorption into a global economy with little regard for their needs or autonomy. This cultural discontinuity has been linked to high rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and violence in many communities, with the most dramatic impact on youth. Nevertheless, Indigenous knowledge, tradition and practice have remained central to wellbeing, resilience and mental health in these populations. Such is the focus of this book.


  • aboriginal mental health
  • depression in indigenous people
  • impact of global economy on aboriginals
  • marginalization of indigenous people
  • mental health of aboriginal peoples
  • rapid culture change


This text represents a wholly refreshing, important, challenging, and creative contribution to the literature addressing the impacts of colonization on the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples and the role of Indigenous knowledge(s) in healing and wellbeing.  If this collection’s breadth of representation loads the bases, the scholarly depth of these contributions hits the ball out of the park. The global voices we hear are of Indigenous Peoples themselves, and of health workers, activists, and allies embedded within those communities by the suffering of a passion, and a commitment of understanding unafraid to be taught. As such, the book claims the all-important promise of its title, of Indigenous knowledge(s) by which our predominantly Western and positivistic understanding of mental health, inclusive of its praxis implications, can and must be challenged, refigured, adapted, and sometimes even abandoned. A radical teaching, this. This text moves us away from abstractions and platitudes to show us just how, just what, it might mean in practice to be “sensitive” to the other, to be “responsive”, and to be open to creative invention and respectful collaboration. We learn about innovative therapies, interventions, and research methodologies: land-based interventions, anti-oppressive therapy, body work, using dance and rituals in therapy, conducting clinical ethnographic, auto-ethnographic, or performance ethnographic research, analyzing songs and folk tales, and what it means to be allies and companions in research and therapy. We learn of a therapy and research of the heart, of a therapy and research for, from, and of the other. In the end, this book does everything it sets itself to, and exceptionally so. Now it is our turn. Having spoken so eloquently and powerfully, the test of our listening is in our response, which is also to say our responsibility.

Leswin Laubscher, Ph.D.

Duquesne University

About the editors

Dr. David Danto is a clinical psychologist and Head of Psychology at the University of Guelph-Humber. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), is Board Liaison to the CPA Committee on Ethics, past Chair of the CPA Indigenous Peoples section and is a past trustee for the Psychology Foundation of Canada (PFC). In 2017 he chaired the CPA and PFC Task Force on Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, and he currently Chairs the CPA Standing Committee on Reconciliation. Dr. Danto has worked in psychiatric hospitals, university counselling centers, private practice, and correctional facilities in Canada and the United States. In partnership with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, Dr. Danto developed a field course on Indigenous Mental Health, which he has delivered in Mushkegowuk territory along the James and Hudson Bay coast for the last nine years. Dr. Danto researches resilience and mental health within Indigenous communities, with particular focus on the role of the land in healing the impacts of colonialism and intergenerational trauma. 

Dr. Masood Zangeneh is Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Innovative Learning, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. He is the founding editor of International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, and is a consultant to numerous scientific journals and universities for interdisciplinary, multi-cultural research and development addressing mental health, addiction and resilience among marginalized populations. In 2019 he co-edited Culture, Diversity and Mental Health – Enhancing Clinical Practice (Springer).

Bibliographic Information

  • Book TitleIndigenous Knowledge and Mental Health
  • Book SubtitleA Global Perspective
  • EditorsDavid Danto, Masood Zangeneh
  • DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71346-1
  • PublisherSpringer Cham
  • eBook PackagesBehavioral Science and PsychologyBehavioral Science and Psychology (R0)
  • Copyright InformationThe Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022
  • Hardcover ISBN978-3-030-71344-7Published: 05 January 2022
  • eBook ISBN978-3-030-71346-1Published: 04 January 2022
  • Edition Number1
  • Number of PagesXXIV, 329
  • Number of Illustrations4 b/w illustrations, 16 illustrations in colour
  • TopicsCross-Cultural PsychologyPsychiatryCultural StudiesHealth Psychology