The NWT’s Minister of Health and Social Services says she’s working to meet with the Native Women’s Association of the NWT to address a scathing letter from the group criticizing her for comments made about the state of mental health in the Northwest Territories.
“I appreciate the concerns raised by the Native Women’s Association of the NWT and my office has been working to schedule a meeting with them to discuss these concerns as soon as it can be arranged,” reads in its entirety the statement attributed to Minister Green, which was sent to NNSL Media.
In a private letter from May 4 obtained by NNSL Media, the president of the Native Women’s Association of the NWT, Denise McDonald, told Green members of the society were “appalled and dismayed” by comments Green made in February on the state of mental health in the territory: In regards to whether or not there is a mental health crisis in the territory, Green said “we’re not facing anything that we can’t deal with.”
The letter reads, “The view that there is no mental health crisis in the north shows how disconnected Minister Green is from the excruciating circumstances that some people experience in the north and is disrespectful of the individuals, families, and and communities who struggle with addictions and other trauma-related issues every day.”
She also said the NWTNWA’s new board, which was elected in late 2021, is working on a five-year strategic plan, one priority of which is to improve access to mental health supports in the territory.
McDonald concluded her letter by asking Green to reach out to her for a meeting, saying that as residents transition out of the pandemic, “we need to work together to help people adjust to our new normal and find ways to support our women and families while living with mental health issues.”