$750,000 OTF Grant Helps Deliver Suicide Prevention Programs For Indigenous People

Life Promotion Month, Suicide Prevention Initiatives

In 2020, the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle (BANAC) received $750,000 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create and deliver culturally sensitive suicide prevention initiatives throughout the areas of Simcoe, Muskoka and York Region. The project is focused on delivering Wellness Journey programs and traditional Indigenous teachings and cultural crafting workshops while also connecting socially isolated and at-risk individuals using peer support and land-based events.

“The work that the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle (BANAC) is undertaking with support from the OTF Grow Grant is crucial in helping to promote life and deliver culturally informed suicide prevention in native communities and across the region. This unique program addresses difficult topics through the use of traditional teachings and cultural crafting workshops,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte. “Gathering Our Bundles addresses the unique needs of Indigenous individuals, while honouring their cultural traditions. I am grateful to OTF for their funding support of this incredible work.”

Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin Primary Care Team, with clinics in both Barrie and Orillia, has been able to support life promoting initiatives throughout the region through the life promotion team, Gathering Our Bundles: Life Promotion Initiatives. Funds from the three-year long grant are being used to help with staffing, develop program materials, conduct training activities, host workshops and assist with some administrative costs as well.

“The increased rate of mental illness and addictions has grown substantially, especially over the past two years and even more so among Indigenous people with higher suicide rates among youth,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North. “There is an urgent need for the provision of culturally safe services and traditional healing programs as an integral part of care and suicide prevention for Indigenous people. I am thrilled to see BANAC receive such vital funding for their Gathering Our Bundles: Life Promotion Initiatives.”

This team seeks to promote life by developing and delivering culturally informed suicide prevention through wellness journey programs, traditional teachings and cultural crafting workshops. To learn more about Gathering Our Bundles programming, visit the Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin website at mamaway.ca/gathering-our-bundles.

“The OTF funding brings us the opportunity to connect the socially isolated and reach further into our communities to create more life promotion opportunities,” says Lynn Monague-Sauve, Board President, Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle. “We’ve seen how important the work of life promotion is here, and we are continuing that work that was started”.

Gathering Our Bundles: Life Promotion Initiatives is hosting “Life Promotion Month” from April 16 to May 16, 2022. It opened with a soft launch on March 30 with keynote speaker Waneek Horn-Miller, Indigenous activist and Canadian Olympic Athlete, where she shared her story of resilience from Trauma to Triumph. A line up of the month guest speakers can be found at mamaway.ca/events/ including registration links to attend events virtually.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non‐profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non‐profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID‐19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.


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