Glen Abernethy: Indigenous Mental Health Wellness Funding Announcement

April 11, 2018
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Delivered on April 11, 2018

Check against delivery

Thank you MP McLeod for attending and representing the Government of Canada on behalf of our colleague the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services.

Today we are announcing an investment for all Northwest Territories residents.

This investment has provided  $1.25 million over 3 years, to assist communities with projects that improve mental health and to support mental wellness teams.

These investments support key objectives in the Government of Northwest Territories’ Child and Youth Mental Wellness Action Plan and our 18th Assembly Priority of focusing on mental health and addictions by ensuring that services are delivered locally with culturally appropriate methods.

The specific investment we are announcing today will be used to continue to fund land-based projects focused on mental health throughout the Northwest Territories.

Working through the NWT On the Land Collaborative, mental wellness team projects will have access to funding and to the Collaborative’s network of resources and supports.

The On the Land Collaborative is an example of the GNWT’s longstanding and continued commitment to partnering with Indigenous governments and organizations to shape our programs and services.

By leveraging the additional support of the On the Land Collaborative to help improve the outcomes of mental wellness projects, we are showing that reconciliation works and that incorporating the views and priorities of indigenous northerners into our programs and services benefits us all.

This approach will build the capacity of existing projects in multiple regions to bring together cultural and clinical approaches to care and services, while remaining responsive to specific community needs and contexts.

Seven projects were selected for funding beginning in 2016/17, with program delivery taking place in the Akaitcho, Dehcho, Tlicho, and Sahtu regions.

Four of those projects were invited to participate in a Community of Practice to foster shared learning and make more efficient and effective use of available supports.  

Community of Practice participants have collectively identified shared priorities and key areas of collaboration, including:

  • the development of pre- and post- program supports for participants,
  • access to clinical and counseling supports;
  • providing specialized trauma and intervention training to front-line program staff in order to improve programming and enhance sustainability; and
  • developing shared evaluation methodologies and capacity to more effectively measure program impacts over time and across project sites.

For 2017/18 and 2018/19, the Mental Wellness Team Funding will go towards the continued development and expansion of the Community of Practice, with ongoing financial, administrative, and resource support available to the current four projects and the option for expansion to include additional participants.

A dedicated mental wellness specialist has also been hired as a shared resource for the mental wellness team projects to support program delivery and provide access to counseling, case management and referral in response to needs identified by project teams and individual participants.

I would like to thank MP McLeod and the Government of Canada for your commitment to support mental health in the Northwest Territories.  These investments have and will continue to improve key services for residents of the Northwest Territories.