MKO announces mental health and wellness supports

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – During the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) “Healthy Life, Healthy Mind: Manitoba Youth & Leadership Conference on Mental Health” taking place this week in Winnipeg, MKO Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson officially announced the implementation of new mental health and wellness supports for Manitoba First Nations.
Through the interim mental health funding announced by Prime Minister Trudeau in July 2016, in partnership with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and with the support of the Executive (ECC), the MKO is leading an interim mental health and wellness coordination initiative over three years for Manitoba First Nations.
“We know that many of our people are suffering, not all are able to access the mental health support they need and we have lost too many of our loved ones to suicide and other tragedies that stem from trauma. With these new supports for Manitoba First Nations, there will be an efficient and coordinated, First Nations-led response to crises, and continuous work to improve mental health and wellness for our people,” Grand Chief North Wilson stated.
“We are pleased to announce that a Mobile Mental Health Crisis Response Team is now in place to support both northern and southern First Nations. We also look forward to three Community-based Wellness Teams that are being led by three different Tribal Councils in Manitoba, each of which will have a unique, First Nations-led focus. We look forward to building on this interim measure to ensure that long-term sustainable mental wellness supports are in place for all First Nations in Manitoba,” concluded Grand Chief North Wilson.
The initiative has three major components:
First Nations Mobile Crisis Response Team- will provide crisis response to First Nations upon request from the community/members. While not attending to crisis response, teams will be supporting mental health access and awareness to communities.
First Nations Community Wellness Teams- three teams will soon be in place and be based out of their respective Tribal Councils. Two additional wellness teams, for a total of five, will be established by end of 2017/18.
Prevention and Promotion – The mobile crisis response team and the community wellness teams will not only respond to crises, but will also do prevention and promotion work. This work includes youth and leadership gatherings and school-based suicide prevention and mental health programming.
A new MKO Crisis Response Line will also be available soon for First Nations and community members to contact the Crisis Response Team. This number will be shared widely with Manitoba First Nations. In the interim, First Nations have and continue to directly contact MKO Health staff. Health Canada also launched a new Indigenous Help Line for Indigenous peoples. This toll-free, 24-7 Helpline connects callers to counsellors who can also work to identify follow-up services they can access. The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line is 1‑855‑242-3310.

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