N.S. invests $2M in Mi'kmaw mental health and addictions strategy
Funding will go to new health and wellness organization, Tajikeimɨk
The Nova Scotia government is providing a one-time grant of $2 million so Mi'kmaw leaders can design and implement services for addictions and mental health in all 13 First Nations in the province.
Tajikeimɨk is the Mi'kmaw organization overseeing the creation of an Indigenous health-care system that includes a First Nations workforce.
"It's designing and delivering a health system that is culturally safe and appropriate," said Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation and the lead chief for health issues.
The funding was announced Tuesday in Millbrook, N.S.
Brian Comer, the minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, said it's the first initiative of its kind in Nova Scotia.
Tajikeimɨk's director of health transformation, Sharon Rudderham, said the provincial funds will be used to develop a strategy for mental health services and specific programs that include both Mi'kmaw and Western approaches.
"We'll be looking at either new models of care or existing ones, whatever would work best for each community as we roll out this plan," she said.
Rudderham said she was not sure how long it will take to get the program up and running. She would not rule out asking the province for more money, saying the organization will take it "one step at a time."
Comer said he was open to discussing more grants.