SLFNHA receiving provincial funding to support those impacted by IRS system
Tim Brody - Editor
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) and seven other Indigenous health care teams will receive funding from the provincial government, through the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC), to “enhance the delivery of integrated, culture-based mental health and addictions trauma care to Indigenous people who are experiencing pain, loss and intergenerational trauma as a result of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system.”
The provincial government shared in a March 24 news release that it is providing $800,000 to eight Indigenous health care teams, one of which is SLFNHA.
The eight participating IPHCC member organizations will use the funding to hire mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, social workers and wellness workers.
“This will also include support for training and education to staff and community members. “Additionally, member organizations can use funding to develop models of traditional healing, such as healing circles and sweat lodge ceremonies, as well as the purchase of supplies and equipment, including gardening and traditional harvesting supplies,” the province’s news release stated.
James Morris, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority shared, “Kitchi-Miigwech to the IPHCC and the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs for supporting traditional healing for Mental Health and Addictions across Kiiwetinoong. This help means more tools and resources will go to where they are needed most. We thank you for helping to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people across Northwestern Ontario.”
“Ontario is supporting the Council and its important work providing culture-based treatment and traditional healing programs and services within their communities,” Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, shared in the news release. “This funding will help provide much-needed support for Survivors, their families and community members suffering from mental health and addictions challenges due to the harms inflicted by the Indian Residential School system.”
“Our government is listening to the perspectives of Indigenous peoples and communities on how to improve health outcomes and support actions and initiatives for advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities across the province,” Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions stated in the news release. “Today’s announcement is an important step towards ensuring communities throughout the province have access to culturally appropriate mental health and addictions care, when and where they need it.”
The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, which currently includes 20 members, is an Indigenous-governed and culture-based organization that supports its members — Indigenous governed interprofessional primary healthcare providers — with advancing and evolving Indigenous primary health care planning and service delivery within Ontario.
A National Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school students. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. There is also the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310, including an online chat function through their website.