Province Supports Mi'kmaq Crisis Line

March 21, 2013

Province Supports Mi'kmaq Crisis Line


Aboriginal Nova Scotia’s will continue to have access to critical mental health services and support with provincial funding to help maintain the Mi'kmaq Crisis Line in Eskasoni.

Increasing mental health and addictions treatment services in First Nations communities is a priority for the province, and a key part of Nova Scotia's first mental health and addictions strategy, Together We Can. As part of that plan, the province will provide $50,000 to maintain the crisis line through 2013-14.

Currently the Mi’kmaq Crisis Line is fully funded by the Eskasoni Band since 2009 which cost the band close to 300 thousand dollars a year to maintain the staff and to continue to provide the much needed service for mental illness. Chief Leroy said, “We are glad that we are getting help from the province but it is also my hope that we also develop partnerships, support and collaboration with the province and its crisis line.”

"Mental health and addiction issues can have a crippling affect on individuals, their families and communities," said Premier Darrell Dexter, who toured the Eskasoni Health Centre with Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson, Chief Leroy Denny and Eskasoni Health Director, Sharon Rudderham on March 21, 2013.

"Eskasoni has developed a valuable tool that is helping people through these very difficult times, and this government is pleased to be able provide funding that will see this service continue," said Premier Dexter, who is also Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "I want to commend Chief Denny and the people of Eskasoni for their continued commitment and leadership on this important issue."

"As a former paramedic, I have seen the devastating effects of untreated mental illness," said Mr. Wilson. "Eskasoni should be proud of their accomplishment and should be proud of the services they are providing to all of Nova Scotia First Nations.” Minister Wilson added, “We will continue to move forward to try to support each other and provide access to all of Nova Scotia."

The province will continue to work with Eskasoni to ensure aboriginal Nova Scotians have access to crisis services in their communities beyond 2013-14.

"I am very pleased that this vital service will continue for the people of Eskasoni and all Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia," said Chief Denny. "The crisis line provides critical support to people in crisis so it's important that services are offered in their first language and in a way that respects our traditions."

Since April of 2012 the Mi’kmaq Crisis Line had over 1200 clients contact the crisis line from addiction problems to suicide. Chief Denny emphasize, “It is important that we partner with district health authority and not let First Nation people fall through the cracks of mental health illness.”

The Mi'kmaq Crisis Line is available to First Nation communities across Nova Scotia, 24 hours a day, in their own language, by calling 1-855-379-2099.