Work begins on Lac La Ronge Cree Nation mental health, addictions facility
- | July 04, 2020
A groundbreaking ceremony took place in northern Saskatchewan to kick off construction for the community’s new health and wellness centre. On June 17, 2020, Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) community members imagined a treatment facility for northern members that are dealing with mental health problems and addictions. It was a step closer with the groundbreaking ceremony that marks an 18-month journey to completion.
“This was a dream that has become a reality,” said LLRIB Chief Tammy Cook Searson. “It was something that we’ve been working towards for years.”
The federal government provided $11.6 million, the provincial government provided $2.5 million and the LLRIB Health Services Board provided $2 million dollars towards this project.
“It was a lot of lobbying, going to meetings, meeting with the Prime Minister, meeting with ministers and the community support is very key,” said Chief Cook-Searson. “[There were] many community consultations into our community vision. We look forward to the new opportunities that our wellness treatment and recovery centre will provide. In approximately 18 months, we will have a beautiful facility here that will provide in-patient and out-patient care for youth and adults.”
The 24-bed Healing and Recovery Centre will be located near the Jeannie Bird Clinic south of La Ronge. It will incorporate both western therapies and Woodland Cree culturally relevant programming.
The wellness centre project will include a main facility near La Ronge and wellness lodges providing post-treatment care in each of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band’s other five communities: Stanley Mission, Grandmother’s Bay, Sucker River, Hall Lake, and Little Red River. These services will include after-care for families.
Wellness Centre Project manager Kyle Krushelniski is especially proud of what the wellness centre will offer in terms of access to treatment, not only because it is closer to home for many northerners than the province’s existing facilities, but because of the pre-admission and post-treatment services.
“It’s hard to tell someone (with mental health or addiction issues), ‘Okay, yes, we know you have a problem, but in six months’ time we’ll get you in,’” he said. “It gives a bridge between identifying the problem and actually getting them into treatment.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by the LLRIB’s chief and council, the project management team, dignitaries from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, La Ronge town council, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Prince Albert Grand Council.
“I congratulate you on the sod-turning ceremony…it’s a big accomplishment not only for the LLRIB but all the surrounding nations of the Prince Albert Grand Council, the Metis Nation and the two villages of La Ronge and Air Ronge,” said PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte.