mental-healthOne of the Mental Health Engagement Sessions hosted by the MNO.

In light of this week, May 2-8, 2016, being Canada’s 65th annual Mental Health Week, with a focused theme of taking a closer look at the concerns and needs of the country’s senior population, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO)’s Healing and Wellness Branch is pleased to provide an update on its recent mental health and addiction activities.

The MNO’s Healing and Wellness Branch has a long standing history of working to meet the health needs of Métis people and takes pride in continually advocating on their behalf. In support of these activities, the MNO partnered with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) to embark in several community engagement sessions with the goal of identifying community mental health and addictions priorities.

The MNO wants to ensure input and advice from Métis communities are incorporated into the MNO’s vision for Métis culture-based mental health and addictions services and programs while, at the same time, take an active role in informing Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy in meeting the unique needs of Métis people.

As a result the MNO successfully hosted four community engagement sessions in March 2016 at the following locations: Welland, Toronto, Thunder Bay and North Bay.

Over 130 participants attended the sessions – providing meaningful input and advice on each community’s mental health and addictions gaps and needs. In addition, the sessions also provided an opportunity for the MNO to showcase its services and to network with community stakeholders. As one participant put it: “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet other programs, have clients learn more about what the MNO offers and to share the highlights of what good is happening in our community to MHA (mental health and addictions).”

The MNO would like to thank all those staff members and citizens involved in helping make the events such a success! Particular thanks to: Jean Appel, Sabrina Roy, Joan Panizza, Melissa Pigeau, TerryLynn Longpre, Tammy Wintle, Rebecca VanerSanden, Glen Lipinski, Shelley Gonneville and Ginny Gonneau and Tera Beaulieu – Métis citizens and facilitators in this project.

Moving forward, the MNO will be working with the MOHLTC, OFIFC and ONWA to inform Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and to assist in the planning and implementation of regional mental health and addiction service enhancements. In addition, the MNO will also be using this information to inform its own endeavour of expanding its scope of mental health and addiction services and supports available to clients – including youth and seniors. We look forward to working with MNO staff and citizens alike in making this happen over the next year. Should you have any questions or comments, please contact: MNO Healing and Wellness Branch, Manager of Mental Health and Addictions, Wendy Stewart, or 613-798-1488 x125.

Published on: May 5, 2016