Ottawa, Ontario (May 8, 2019) – The Minister of Indigenous Services, Seamus O’Regan, issued the following statement today:
“Long gone are the days when living with a mental illness was a secret shame, but still we need to speak out, erase stigma and support one another in getting the help we need.
This week, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Canadians across the country are encouraging us to “Get Loud” as we promote mental health and the importance of supporting those who are dealing with mental health issues.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20% of the population (that’s approximately seven million Canadians) live with a mental illness. If one in five Canadians is battling a mental illness, it goes without saying that someone you know is affected.
First Nations and Inuit identify mental health as a priority which is why we are working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, provinces and territories to advance Indigenous-led approaches to mental wellness. More than $425 million is invested by Indigenous Services Canada to help address the mental wellness needs of First Nation and Inuit populations through services, including: culturally grounded life promotion and suicide prevention; substance use prevention and treatment; mental wellness teams; a toll free telephone help line and online chat counselling service; and supports for former students of Indian Residential Schools and their families, and those impacted by the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Since 2016, the Government of Canada has been supporting the implementation of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, and Budget 2019 continues to support the Strategy with a commitment of $50 million over 10 years.
Furthermore, the Hope for Wellness Line is available for all Indigenous peoples. It provides immediate, culturally competent, telephone crisis intervention counselling support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
I encourage everyone to #GetLoud and have conversations and work to reduce the stigma of mental health disorders.”