Discussions underway between Gov’t, Athabasca Health Authority

By Bryan Eneas
August 20, 2018 - 12:00pm

In response to a request for help from the Fond du Lac Denesuline Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the federal government has stated discussions are currently underway with the Athabasca Health Authority (AHA).

An email sent by a department of Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson said they are in discussions with the AHA to provide additional resources to help meet the needs of Fond du Lac and the surrounding region.

“Indigenous Services Canada’s [has committed] 2018 – 2019 community-based program funding of $1,586,634 to AHA for health services programming in the communities of Fond du Lac and Black Lake,” an email from Edith Pedneault with the department of Indigenous Services Canada said.

Pedneault’s statement outlined how the money is broken down; $262,000 is used to operate a Mental Wellness Team in both Fond du Lac and Black Lake. A further $98,500 is dedicated to suicide prevention in both communities. The remaining $250,000 is dedicated to providing mental health, emotional and cultural support services to former Indian Residential School attendees and their families.

AHA also receives support through the Non-Insured Benefits program to deliver mental health counselling to community members in Fond du Lac to the tune of $304,000 in the department’s 2018 – 2019 budgets.

Year to date, the department has spent roughly $98,000 in fees for service and community crisis expenditures and air expenditures for medical appointments. In the 2017 – 2018 year, the department spent roughly the same amount for the same services, although more of the budget, $45,578, was dedicated to air travel for mental health appointments.

Providing supports through recruiting and retention can be challenging through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program, Pedneault said, adding six additional therapists have been recruited to work in the community to provide surge capacity as needed.


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