Staggering mental health, addiction stats push northern First Nations to call for emergency declaration – CBC

Band members 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health, addictions than rest of Ontario

Sep 13, 2023

Chiefs of First Nations in northern Ontario are calling for a public emergency and social crisis to be declared, emphasizing the disproportionate mental health and addictions issues facing their communities compared to the rest of the province.

The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority’s (SLFNHA) held its two-day annual general meeting last week. It serves 33 First Nations — 28 of them are considered remote as they have no highway access.

Those who attended the meeting in Thunder Bay heard jarring preliminary figures from a report on mental health and substance use that’s underway in the communities. The figures show band members are hospitalized for mental health and addictions issues at six times the provincial rate.

From 2011 to 2021, emergency department visits for intentional self-injury nearly doubled and ambulatory visits in the communities tripled.

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