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Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Residential School Survivors

Local NewsOntario Expanding Mental Health Services for Residential School Survivors

Indigenous Primary Health Care Council receiving $800,000 for culture-based mental health and addictions trauma care

The Ontario government is providing $800,000 to eight Indigenous health care teams through the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC) to enhance the delivery of integrated, culture-based mental health and addictions trauma care to Indigenous people who are experiencing pain, loss and intergenerational trauma as a result of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system.

This funding is in addition to dedicated funding being provided to First Nations leading burial investigations at former Indian Residential Schools across the province.

“Ontario is supporting the Council and its important work providing culture-based treatment and traditional healing programs and services within their communities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “This funding will help provide much-needed support for Survivors, their families and community members suffering from mental health and addictions challenges due to the harms inflicted by the Indian Residential School system.”

Eight participating IPHCC member organizations will receive funding to hire mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, social workers and wellness workers. This will also include support for training and education to staff and community members. Additionally, member organizations can use funding to develop models of traditional healing, such as healing circles and sweat lodge ceremonies, as well as the purchase of supplies and equipment, including gardening and traditional harvesting supplies.

“Our government is listening to the perspectives of Indigenous peoples and communities on how to improve health outcomes and support actions and initiatives for advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities across the province,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Today’s announcement is an important step towards ensuring communities throughout the province have access to culturally appropriate mental health and addictions care, when and where they need it.”

Ontario remains committed to providing supports for Indigenous-led initiatives to identify, investigate, protect and commemorate burials at Indian Residential School sites, and address the ongoing mental health impacts of the Residential School system on Indigenous communities across the province.

This commitment includes continuing to advance meaningful reconciliation by exploring opportunities with Indigenous partners to deepen Ontarians’ collective awareness and understanding of the terrible legacy of the Indian Residential School system.

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