Métis Nation BC is the First Indigenous Nation in Canada to Partner with Lifeguard Digital Health, Protecting and Supporting Métis Health and Wellness
Vancouver, British Columbia (August 31, 2021) — Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) is the first Indigenous Nation in Canada to launch the Lifeguard overdose prevention App on August 31, 2021. Working closely with MNBC to recognize and honour their culture and traditions, Lifeguard Digital Health adapted the Lifeguard App to resonate exclusively with the Métis community. With culturally sensitive imagery and language, Lifeguard provides instant access to Métis crisis lines, resources for mental health and addiction treatments and direct links to prevent drug-related deaths.
“The ongoing opioid crisis has had great impact on our communities. There continue to be many lives lost,” says Dr. Kate Elliott, MNBC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “I encourage all Métis citizens to download the Lifeguard App, become familiar with it, and encourage others to do the same. We need to decrease stigma around non-prescription substance use. It is simple and confidential and has potential to save lives.”
Lifeguard will connect Métis individuals with life-saving information for their communities to help each other, providing the right care at the right time. When a drug overdose occurs, the customized App signals to first responders in the community. It also helps avoid medical crises by providing unprecedented access to the following services:
• Dedicated Métis Crisis line
• Notifications on bad drugs in the area
• Naloxone and CPR instructions
• Prevention and Detox Services
• Locations of localized support services
There are nearly 90 000 Métis people in BC, with 38 chartered communities, who will have access to the customized platform. Despite Métis making up 33% of the Indigenous population in Canada, only 2.6% of Indigenous Health research examines Métis health and wellness. With Métis youth in particular identifying the need for mental health support, the hope is that the App will not only save lives, but nurture safer, healthier communities.
“Métis youth are becoming more and more connected in the digital age but are often being left behind in terms of culturally sensitive resources available to them for mental health and substance use issues,” says Shaughn Davoren, MNBC Minister of Youth. “I see this partnership as the first step towards providing more Métis-specific resources for our youth and look forward to supporting more initiatives like it.”
CEO and Founder of Lifeguard Digital Health, Jeff Hardy says, “It has been an honour to partner with the Métis Nation BC and develop customized digital health solutions that acknowledge their distinctive culture. Our hope is that this platform not only helps save lives but provides new pathways for communities to connect and support each other.”
“When I met Jeff Hardy, I had a vision for how we could save lives, and how we could protect Métis health and wellness. The Lifeguard App is a tangible thing designed with Métis people in mind that can and will save lives,” Stephen Thomson, formerly Métis Nation BC’s Provincial Harm Reduction Coordinator.
Since the Lifeguard App trials and launch in 2020, it has been successfully activated over 50,000 times and saved 40 lives in BC from accidental overdoses and deaths from drug toxicity. The timer on the app is activated by the user before they take their dose. The one-minute timer can be extended up to five minutes but if the user fails to hit the stop button, the alarm will grow louder until it alerts emergency medical dispatchers of a potential overdose.
Lifeguard Digital Health launched in British Columbia with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), in partnership with regional health authorities and now services over 5000 users.
About Métis Nation British Columbia
Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) represents nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people and nearly 22,000 registered Citizens in British Columbia, approximately one-third of the Indigenous population in B.C. The Métis National Council, the Government of Canada, and the B.C. Government recognize MNBC as the governing body for the Métis people in B.C. MNBC develops and enhances opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services for all self-identified Métis within B.C., regardless of citizenship with MNBC.
About Lifeguard Digital Health
Lifeguard Digital Health creates digital health solutions (applications) that reduce harm, prevent involuntary deaths, and improve quality of life. The company integrates technology innovations on its evan platform, including artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), permission blockchain, and informatics. Complying with the highest levels of security and privacy regulations, it works closely with health authorities and emergency health services. For more information, please visit www.lifeguarddh.com
Métis Nation British Columbia Contact:
Associate Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations