VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Monday, August 31, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched more supports and resources for Indigenous people that are affected the province’s dual public health crises: the overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
FNHA started an overdose prevention public education campaign that includes important messages on the FNHA’s website as well as social media platforms. In addition to this, in two weeks, the campaign will expand with transit shelter advertising in five cities throughout B.C.
FNHA will also be offering a First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service, which will allow First Nations people in the province to virtually access substance use specialists, counsellors, and psychiatrists.
The FNHA developed these resources in response to an increased demand for mental health and wellness supports during the pandemic and the increase of overdose deaths. Public health measures like physical distancing and staying home are having a large impact on overdose rates, as people are more likely to use alone now than before the pandemic.
This situation has had a significant impact on First Nations, between January and May 2020, with 89 First Nations individuals who have died in the province due to overdoses. A 93 percent increase from the year before.
More information on what the FNHA is planning during this time can be found on their website.