NSC takes on larger role in mental health committee

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Peace Regional Mental Health and Addictions Task Force is seeking councillors from local municipalities to sit on its committee, and Northern Sunrise Council has decided to participate.
Last year, NSC chose not to appoint a councillor to the committee, but after observing the new group for a year they decided to proceed in appointing a councillor.
“As this was a new committee, council wanted to see how the first year went and if there was uptake from the surrounding region,” says Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba.
“The committee’s work is just getting started but the committee is trying to work together to improve the lives of people within our communities, particularly in the areas of mental health/addiction and well being,” she adds.
According to the task force’s report, it was created to support rural communities in their journey to identify local priorities around mental health/addiction and creating an action plan to promote mental health and well-being.
“Throughout the year we had asked Marc Boychuk to provide additional information to council on the committee, which he has consistently done,” says Kolebaba.
“As the committee seems to be garnering some traction and has developed a terms of reference for the committee, it was discussed and decided that we should be a part of the work that the committee is looking at providing to the region.”
The task force’s report says it is attempting to promote equitable access to support rural mental health, because often smaller communities do not receive the same access to training, support, funds, and resources as larger urban centres.
“I had the opportunity to meet with Boychuk at the RhPAP conference and I just think it’s good initiative,” Councillor Dan Boisvert said during the Oct. 11 meeting.
“We’ve all seen more issues in Peace River and some of those are residents of NSC. Drugs and addictions are a major issue in mental illness. I think we should add it to the organizational meetings.”
At its last meeting Oct. 11, NSC council voted unanimously to add a councillor to the task force board. On Oct. 25, council will decide which council member will sit on the task force.

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