Government of Canada announces mental health supports for Indigenous communities

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

July 4, 2023

Indigenous Peoples face multiple barriers in accessing adequate mental health and substance use care, primarily due to systemic racism stemming from colonial practices and policies like residential schooling. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing disparities across our universal healthcare system and ensuring that all Indigenous Peoples have equitable access to compassionate, trauma-informed, and culturally-based mental health and substance use resources.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced close to $13 million in funding to nine organizations across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, for their projects to support the mental health of Indigenous individuals and communities. These projects aim to promote positive mental health by strengthening cultural connections, supporting culturally informed mental health resources, and providing peer support. The projects will provide support tailored to Indigenous youth, urban Indigenous communities, Indigenous healthcare and frontline workers, and Indigenous women.

The Government of Canada will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous leadership, all levels of government, partners, stakeholders, and organizations in communities across the country to improve health outcomes, increase access to adequate mental health and substance use supports, and foster healthcare systems free from systemic racism and discrimination where Indigenous Peoples feel respected, safe, and heard.


“Indigenous Peoples in Canada are at a higher risk of experiencing mental illness, and face unacceptable intersecting barriers in accessing mental health and substance use services and supports. Our government is taking action to close those gaps and support indigenous leadership in prevention and healing. I thank the organizations receiving funding today for their inspiring work integrating culturally grounded resources into mental health supports, and increasing engagement within their communities.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • This announcement is part of the $100 million provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an additional $50 million to address posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma in frontline and essential workers.
  • The organizations receiving funding include: Bridges for Women Society, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, The Alexandra Community Health Centre, Western University, Shkoday Abinojiiwak Obimiwedoon, Northwestern Health Unit, National Association of Friendship Centres, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation.
  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat.
  • The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
  • Kids Help Phone is also available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French.
  • Budget 2023 provides $158.4 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support the implementation and operation of 9-8-8, a national three-digit suicide prevention and emotional distress support number.

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Associated links


Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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