Through the new Residential School Mental Health Support Grant Program, First Nations, Metis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta will be eligible to apply for funding to support a variety of services and supports. This includes counselling services and traditional healing practices such as talking circles for individuals, families and communities affected by Canada’s residential schools and the ongoing tragic discoveries of children’s remains. More than $2.8 million will be available through this program, allocated through grants of up to $50,000 each.

“The funding is a part of the Alberta government’s efforts to address the painful legacy of residential schools. Mental health supports are especially important as burial sites continue to be uncovered. We are committed to working with First Nations and Métis peoples to achieve real and meaningful improvements in all aspects of health and well-being.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Trauma associated with residential schools is far-reaching and dramatically impacts community. The path to reconciliation is through independence. We hope this funding will provide more independence for Indigenous and Métis peoples in Alberta to improve their mental wellness and begin recovering from community trauma.” 

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions 

“The recent discoveries of unmarked gravesites across the country continue to reopen the wounds for the families of those who were lost. This grant is another step in addressing the painful legacy of residential schools and helping families find closure. Now is the time to support each other so we can collectively heal and continue to work towards reconciliation.”

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations  

“The mental health and wellness of all First Nations have been impacted in some way by residential schools. We all know someone or have heard stories of what happened to our children who were taken away. The trauma runs deep and significant effort needs to be made to heal. This funding is a welcome step in that direction.”

Chief Douglas Beaverbones, O’Chiese First Nation

“We appreciate the Alberta government commitment to work with us to support the mental health and well-being of our people. Through funding and collaborative partnerships, we are moving in the right direction. It will take ongoing effort to truly address the impact of residential schools.”

Regional Chief Marlene Poitras, Assembly of First Nations Alberta Association

The goal is to have this funding available as soon as possible to support the mental health of First Nations and Métis people as investigations begin at former residential school sites in Alberta. More information on the application process will be available soon.

In addition, Alberta’s government is providing $4.9 million over two years to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Indigenous Wellness Core.

The AHS Indigenous Wellness Core partners with Indigenous peoples, communities and key stakeholders to provide accessible, culturally appropriate health services for First Nations and Me?tis people and the Inuit in Alberta. The overall vision is to achieve health equity for and with Indigenous peoples in Alberta. The $4.9-million funding commitment represents a sustainable approach to addressing the ongoing mental health needs of Indigenous peoples and communities.

Alberta’s government also continues to provide funding to a number of programs focused on supporting the mental health needs of Indigenous peoples across the province. This includes providing grant funding through the Wellness Core to roughly 50 Indigenous communities and organizations to implement community-based life promotion projects for youth and to support suicide prevention efforts, as well as more than $5 million allocated to organizations that serve Indigenous peoples through the COVID-19 Community Funding Grant Program.