National Summit on Indigenous Mental Wellness wraps up in Toronto

News release

Hybrid summit brought together hundreds of participants to share best practices to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis mental wellness

September 23, 2022 — Toronto, Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

A first-of-its kind National Summit on Indigenous Mental Wellness was held September 23, 2022 in Toronto. This summit brought together First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, tribal councils, organizations and leaders, as well as front-line service providers, to share best practices and build new collaborations to improve mental wellness services to Indigenous people.

The event included dozens of presentations that reflected a wide range of projects, initiatives and services from across Canada. Over the course of the day, participants discussed the importance of distinctions-based approaches as well as culture and community for the mental wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations; the mental wellness workforce that is supporting communities; innovative community-based approaches such as mental wellness teams, life promotion and suicide prevention; Indigenous youth perspectives; and substance use prevention and treatment, including harm reduction.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health & Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, provided opening and closing remarks, and were truly inspired by the day of presentations and discussions of indigenous-led approaches to the challenge of mental wellness.

Over the coming weeks, various summit materials will be made available online to share some of the presentations and outcomes of discussions.

Quotes

“This first-of-its-kind National Summit on Indigenous Mental Wellness brought practitioners and front line workers together to share Indigenous-led programs and research on mental wellness. The summit was inspiring, emotional, and filled with optimism about how people and communities can heal. Thank you to all of the participants and presenters who joined us from across the country to share your knowledge. This is the work of reconciliation - creating a stronger future for everyone. Marsha Simmons from the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba said it best: “When we gather, there is energy!””

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“As the Indigenous Mental Wellness Summit comes to an end, I would like to thank everyone for their participation. It is vital for us to hear and share wise and promising practices for promoting, nurturing and sustaining mental wellness and addressing substance use issues by and for Indigenous Peoples across the country. Listening to First Nations, Inuit and Métis elders, leadership and professionals as they develop new ways that are holistic, strengths-based, distinctions-based, community-driven and trauma-informed is essential as we support mental health and substance use services that are culturally appropriate and address intersectional racism and stigma.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Indigenous Services Canada works closely with Indigenous partners and is guided by key documents that were developed by Indigenous partners, namely the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, Honouring Our Strengths and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. These documents outline a holistic approach to mental wellness that is grounded in culture and Indigenous-specific determinants of health.

  • The Government of Canada has made significant recent investments to improve mental wellness in Indigenous communities, including:

    • $597.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, through Budget 2021 for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. This funding also provides essential cultural, emotional, and mental health support to former Indian Residential School and federal Day School students and their families, as well as those affected by the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
    • $227.6 million over two years, beginning in 2022-23, through Budget 2022 to maintain trauma-informed, Indigenous-led, culturally-appropriate services to improve mental wellness, and continue to implement distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategies.
  • Indigenous Services Canada funds mental wellness services that include culturally grounded life promotion and suicide prevention; substance use prevention and treatment, mental wellness teams, a toll-free telephone help line and online chat crisis intervention services; and supports for Survivors and families of residential schools, Day Schools, and those impacted by the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people.

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Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Alison.Murphy@sac-isc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
media@sac-isc.gc.ca

Maja Staka
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

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