Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the department, the authority, the territorial authority, as well as the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, have been listening to the Member, as well as to the residents of Hay River. I have confirmation that Hay River Health and Social Services continues to strive to improve the counselling services that they currently have. Right now, I can confirm that they have five full-time resident counsellors in place in Hay River. As of today, there is an approximate wait time of about eight weeks, which is quite a bit; however, there are no wait times for addictions counselling. The length of time on a wait list varies throughout the year. Factors that influence the wait times could include vacancies in the positions, urgency of the clients, matching client needs with the specialization of some of our staff.
As a note, Mr. Speaker, there are two scheduled emergency appointments per day, five days a week, for those clients who need emergency services in Hay River.
On top of that, Mr. Speaker, Hay River Health and Social Services ran an applied suicide intervention skills training course in Hay River from the 14th to 15th of February. They ran a mental health first aid program earlier in December; they are planning another one in August. This is an important tool that we can use to help educate residents and help them be informed, help break down the stigma that exists around mental health. I strongly encourage the Member to take it and to share all the information in that mental health first aid program with his constituents.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward with the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, which contemplates creating 49 new positions throughout the Northwest Territories. Hay River is part of that plan. Granted, it's towards the end of the four-year rollout, but it is part of that plan.