Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller announced an additional $82.5 million allocated for mental health and wellness support for Indigenous communities across Canada on Tuesday.
It is unknown if programs in Prince George will see any of the funding directly, as it hosts a multitude of organizations that strive to support wellness within local Indigenous communities such as the Lheidli T’enneh First Nations.
Demands for counselling and mental wellness support were already increasing in Indigenous communities prior to the pandemic.
The pandemic has weighed heavier on Indigenous women, as they are more likely to take on responsibilities at home, forcing them to deal directly with the increasing rates of family violence.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada has been conducting a series of nation-wide consultations with local member offices and Indigenous women.
Preliminary results of the consultations revealed a spike in the number of Indigenous women admitting to facing more violent incidents since the pandemic began, often by an intimate partner.
COVID-19 has also isolated Indigenous youth and those in the 2SLGBTQQIA community, as many mental wellness services for Indigenous communities have been moved online.
Some funding will be left to enable adaptation among national organizations and services, like the Hope for Wellness Line, which saw a 178% increase in demand this year.
Over $2-billion has been committed in specific support to Indigenous and northern communities and organizations.