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Federal government commits $82.5 million to enhance Indigenous mental health supports

The Government of Canada has announced $82.5 million to boost mental health and wellness supports for Indigenous communities.

“In almost all of the discussions that I have had with First Nations, Inuit and Métis representatives since the beginning of the pandemic, the importance of recognizing and supporting mental wellness as a core need of the Covid-19 response has been communicated regularly,” says Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous Services.
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Stress and anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was cited specifically as an impetus for the funding in a statement attributed to Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller on Tuesday.

Inuit funding will be allocated in discussions with Inuit national and regional representatives. The First Nations envelope will be allocated based on discussions among regional partnership tables. Métis funding envelope will be allocated through regional Métis governing members, according to the government.

The government called for culturally-appropriate, Indigenous-led and timely mental health supports such as on the land activities; community-based health supports and mental wellness teams; adapting mental health services, such as virtual counselling, to meet increased demand; and supporting Indigenous partners in developing innovative strategies to address substance use and to improve access to treatment services.

“Prior to the pandemic, demand for counselling and mental wellness support was already trending upward. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the need for mental health support, innovative solutions are particularly needed now,” a federal government news release reads. “The pandemic has had disproportionate effects on women, who are more likely to be asked to take on more responsibilities in the home, and who have reported increased rates of family violence during these times of increased isolation. We also know the pandemic has further isolated Indigenous youth and those in the 2SLGBTQQIA community.”