Ottawa giving $82.5M for Indigenous mental health support during COVID-19

OTTAWA — The federal government is pledging $82.5 million to improve access and address growing demand for mental health services in Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says access to many mental health services for Indigenous communities have been disrupted due to the pandemic.

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Some services have shifted to virtual and telehealth mental treatment options, which has created obstacles for people living in remote communities that have limited connectivity.

Miller says the funding will support access to additional services, transitioning some to virtual platforms and supporting Indigenous partners in developing new ways to address substance use and to improve access to treatment.

He says the news funds are a response to the advocacy of many Indigenous leaders who have pushed for enhanced mental wellness supports.

Representatives from First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities have been pushing for support for mental wellness as a core need of the COVID-19 response.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2020.

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