Prime Minister visits James Smith Cree Nation and announces mental health supports for those impacted by the tragic attacks in September

November 28, 2022
James Smith Cree Nation, Saskatchewan

The events described below are far-reaching and deeply impactful. If you need someone to talk to, the Hope for Wellness Helpline offers support to all Indigenous Peoples. Counsellors are available by phone or online chat. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. Call the toll-free help line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

In September, the horrific attacks that took the lives of 11 people and injured 18 others in James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby community of Weldon, Saskatchewan, shocked Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We came together to mourn those whose lives were taken and support their loved ones. The Government of Canada is continuing to support community members who are coping with the loss and trauma from this tragic and senseless violence.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today visited James Smith Cree Nation to meet with community leaders, families of victims, and survivors and announce $62.5 million over six years, starting this year, and $4.5 million ongoing to support the healing, mental health, and well-being of community members impacted by the tragic events of September, and to support Indigenous-led approaches to community safety. Everyone should have access to the type of support they need, and today we’re taking action to improve access to culturally grounded mental health and addictions care for the people of James Smith Cree Nation.

From this new funding, $42.5 million will help support mental wellness and healing, including through the building of a new wellness centre in the community and repurposing the existing Sakwatamo Lodge. It will also enable James Smith Cree Nation to develop and design programs that best serve the needs of their members including increasing access to mental health, trauma, and substance use services. This will ensure that both immediate and long-term supports are available for James Smith Cree Nation community members to continue their healing journey.

The Prime Minister also announced an additional $20 million over four years to top-up the Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative, which builds on our work to implement the Federal Pathway, and end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people. This initiative is supporting James Smith Cree Nation and other communities in developing and delivering community-based safety and wellness projects.

Access to quality mental health care that is culturally relevant and trauma-informed is critical to the well-being of communities and to support recovery from the pain, trauma, and loss inflicted by tragedies such as the horrific violence this past September. The Government of Canada will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples across the country to advance Indigenous-led approaches to mental wellness. Our priority is for everyone in Canada to have access to the mental health care they need, when they need it.

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