Feds pledge $2.5M to Sask. First Nations to prevent youth 'harms and deaths'
SASKATOON -- Indigenous Services Canada on Thursday announced it will spend $2.5 million over the next two years to help Saskatchewan First Nations offer mental health and wellness programming for children and youth.
The funding announcement comes in the same week the Ochapowace First Nation declared a state of emergency following the suicides of four people in the last three months.
It also comes in the wake of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation's declared state of crisis after a rash of suicides and suicide attempts late last month involving youth.
According to an Indigenous Services Canada news release, the funding is meant to help communities prevent "further harms and deaths among their children and youth."
“Our government is committed to supporting Indigenous leadership and communities in implementing solutions that promote life and enhance mental, physical and spiritual health. While there is still much work to do, this investment will have a measurable, positive impact on First Nations children in Saskatchewan," Minister Marc Miller said in a news release.
The money will support the delivery of mental wellness services and prevention programming that is holistic, First Nations-specific, strength-based and community-driven.
"The FSIN Chiefs-in-Assembly called for funding to provide immediate relief to flow directly to First Nations communities to address this crisis," FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in the release.
"This funding will assist with these pressures, while also supporting the development of a large scale, by First Nations, for First Nations implementation plan that can guide appropriate investments in the future.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available. Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645) and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868) offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues. If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. The Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566) is a place where resources on suicide prevention can be found.