When people experience trauma early in life, it can affect how their brain develops, it can damage their ability to have healthy relationships, and it can lead to unhealthy ways of coping with their pain, like using substances. These impacts of trauma can cast a long shadow on a person’s life and relationships. They can affect their partner, families and be passed on to their children, and even their children’s children. This is known as intergenerational trauma.
For Indigenous people in Canada, colonialism has been a major source of intergenerational trauma. The Indian Residential School system is one example that led to intergenerational trauma for Indigenous people. Researchers are still learning how trauma is passed from one generation to the next, but the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report highlights that substance use in Indigenous communities can be a result of trying to cope with traumatic experiences. This can lead to health and social problems, that for many families, span across generations (Indigenous Perspectives of Trauma and Substance Use, 2021).
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Increase the Support. Reduce the Harm. And learn about the overdose crisis from the perspective of Indigenous people in BC who have been directly impacted by it. Learn more at fnha.ca/harmreduction
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