The government of Nova Scotia recently gave Mi’kmaw tribal leaders a one-time grant of $2 million. The funds are intended so tribal leaders can design and eventually implement in-demand services for addictions and mental health amongst Indigenous community members. When the project is complete, it’s intended to be available for all 13 First Nation tribes in the province.
A New Approach To Mental Health
Although the grant money is the first step of a much longer journey, it will fund the development of the program, which will weave Mi’kmaw and Western medicine approaches. Tajikeimik, a Mi’kmaw organization, is overseeing the new Indigenous-centered healthcare system.
“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,” Tajikeimik’s Director of Health Transformation, Sharon Rudderham, says.
Part of the new health center’s development is creating services specially tailored to Indigenous people struggling with substance abuse or their mental health. The new facility is already on the right track by inviting a company like Tajikeimik and using a First Nations workforce.
“It’s designing and delivering a health system that is culturally safe and appropriated,” Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation says of the program.
Addressing A Prominent Issue In Native American Life
Currently, the Mi’kmaw healthcare facility is in the earliest stages of development. Still, when it’s complete, the programs will address two pressing issues amongst the Native American population; substance abuse and its effect on an individuals’ mental health.
Amongst Indigenous people, substance abuse and substance dependence are much higher than any other ethnic group. Therefore, building more places like the one Nova Scotia invested in can be life-changing and impact more than just one generation.
Also, because the programs will specifically target and cater to Native Americans, the facility hopes it will be more effective. In the long run, the Mi’kmaw tribe is invoking positive change across all First Nations communities in Canada.