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Prioritizing Cultural Safety during COVID-19

Creating a safe and equitable health care system for Indigenous peoples is foundational to patient experience.
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Research conducted during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak show that Indigenous peoples are uniquely vulnerable to pandemics as a result of colonialism, ever since first contact. Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, we must prioritize cultural safety in all our responses.

"We understand that cultural safety is an outcome determined by each individual client, and work to identify which supports and cultural care are important to insuring that outcome in their experience," says  Angela Merasty, Indigenous Care Coordinator at Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction and Heartwood Centre for Women.

At Burnaby Centre and Heartwood, weekly groups based on Indigenous teachings and principles, and one-to-one collaboration with each client are used to determine what is important to ensuring that clients are culturally supported during their stay at BCMHSUS. 

"This can include access to and use of sacred medicines, connection to ceremony and other resources within the community, mentorship and ongoing one-to-one support, as well as the flexibility to try and implement any additional cultural supports that the individual requires connection to,"  says Angela.

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Keep in touch

If you or your loved one has lived experience of mental health and substance use, and you are interested in working with us to make our services better, contact the BCMHSUS Patient Experience and Community Engagement team at

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