MNBC’s First Conference on Climate Change and Mental Health, a Great Success!

Posted by on

(Surrey, BC) - Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) welcomed over 60 attendees to their first Climate Change and Mental Health forum in Richmond, January 31st to February 2nd. This forum’s aim was to focus on the current changes to our climate, its environmental impacts, and its effect on our physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. MNBC’s Minister of Health Susie Hooper along with her fellow board members, MNBC Vice President Lissa Smith, Women’s Chairperson Victoria Pruden and Regional Director Garry Biggar welcomed Youth, Elders and Métis Community Leaders and members. 

The Ministry of Health was thrilled to have Minister Judy Darcy, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions in attendance and open the day with a welcoming address discussing the strong partnership between MNBC and the Ministry. Minister Darcy also spoke to the need for Métis specific services and programs and reiterated her commitment to continued work together to improve the mental health needs of Métis people in the province.

Annie Smith, Executive Director from McCreary Centre launched the second full report on Métis Youth Health, “Ta Saantii Deu/Neso”. Annie provided an in-depth presentation on Métis Youth across 58 of 60 school districts in British Columbia. 32% of Aboriginal Youth respondents identified as Métis, the report can be found at https://www.mcs.bc.ca/node/306

Presentations over the weekend included CleanBC, Pacific Climate Impact Consortium and MNBC’s Leona Shaw, Acting Director of Natural Resources who provided BC specific information regarding climate change and impacts, and Jillian Jones, MNBC’s Mental Health Policy Analyst, in identifying and addressing Eco-Anxiety.

Breakout sessions included regionally based conversations on how climate change is affecting each region’s physical and mental health, as well as reporting back to the larger group that will feed into a larger strategy. Communities came together to discuss ways in which we as Métis people and as a Nation can work together to lessen our impact on the environment and how to be disaster prepared to protect ourselves and one another.

The forum was completed with a fun group Groundhog Day exercise where participants welcomed an early Spring!

- 30 -