A new initiative to increase access to mental health and addiction services for First Nations communities has resulted in increased dialogue between partners and the Minweyaanigoziwin Mapping Project, a new website that links Kenora-area First Nations residents with service providers. The Health Services Integration Fund (HSIF) provided funds to the Iskatewizaagegan Independent First Nation to develop an integrated system of care through collaboration with other First Nations in the Kenora area.
A Steering Committee was formed in October 2012 and included the Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig Health Access Centre; Lake of the Woods District Hospital; District Assertive Community Treatment Team, CMHA Kenora Branch; Treaty Three Police Service; Northwest Local Health Integration Network; and First Nation and Inuit Health.
Gaps in service were quickly identified and the committee recognized the need to increase awareness of mental health and addiction services. In response, the committee created the Minweyaanigoziwin Mapping Project. Since the mapping project was not a funded deliverable of the HSIF project, four partners on the Steering Committee contributed funds for the development of the website, including CMHA Kenora Branch and the Iskatewizaagegan Independent First Nation.
Through the website, direct service providers can access a comprehensive directory that includes the contact information of all mental health and addiction service providers. Service providers can use the site to link their clients with appropriate services and supports. Additional content will be uploaded to the webpage as it becomes available.