NTC expands mental health help offerings

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is providing mental health support for aboriginal youth in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) is proud to provide mental health support for aboriginal youth in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) is proud to provide mental health support for aboriginal youth in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) is proud to provide mental health support for aboriginal youth in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

“The Teechuktl Program is a culturally led, clinical approach to mental health,” said Vina Robinson, Teechuktl manager.

The NTC Teechuktl provides clinical counselling services on-reserve for 14 communities, as well as clinical counselling services for urban Nuu-chah-nulth members in Port Alberni and throughout BC with non-insured health benefits.  “The Quu’asa program provides healing through culture, offers services such as brushings, cleansings, letting go and healing ceremonies,” Robinson said.

“One of our key initiatives is urban outreach support to vulnerable and at risk Nuu-chah-nulth living in Port Alberni and our resolution health support workers provide support for residential school survivors and their families.”

A CHS prevention and training worker provides workshops and support to 14 Nations and schools in the Nuu-chah-nulth area on suicide prevention and crisis intervention.

The small community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario has drawn international attention from a suicide crisis that has swept through the isolated First Nations community. Since September of last year, the community of 2,100 has seen close to 100 suicide attempts and 30 in March of this year alone.

A state of emergency was declared for Attawapiskat by First Nations leaders.

“It was with heavy hearts to hear the news of the suicide attempts in Attawapiskat. We express our most sincere thoughts to the families and community members affected by this tragic situation,”  Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president Debra Foxcroft said.

“Suicide not only affects the individuals, but also their families and communities. It is the responsibility of those families, leaders and communities to ensure our children are heard, acknowledged, loved and supported not just in a time of crisis but every single day our their young lives.”

Foxcroft said she is proud of the mental health services the NTC provide for culture-supported healing.

The KUU-US Crisis Line is another aboriginal mental health resource in the Valley that provides 24-hour crisis response through their phone lines for both adults and youth.

“We don’t turn service away from anybody,” Elia Nicholson-Nave, executive director at KUU-US Crisis Line in Port Alberni, said.

“If they are non-aboriginal, after we’ve assisted them and they get services we will direct them back to their local crisis line but we are specific with helping aboriginal people.”

The crisis line has been in operation since 1993 and is mandated to assess a caller’s needs from the presented issue. KUU-US is unique because the organization provides follow up assistance for additional support and when necessary will monitor at-risk individuals.

KUU-US was started in Port Alberni, because of a high rate of suicide and attempted suicides in Nuu-chah-nulth communities.

Through a new partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, the service will now be available to Aboriginal people across the province.

“With this new agreement we are hiring at least 10 more people, part time and full time, to help the capacity to handle all the calls,” Nicholson-Nave said.

Last year the crisis line received about 11,000 calls.

For those interested, resumes can be dropped off at 4589 Adelaide St. in Port Alberni from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday until June 20.

KUU-US can be reached province-wide at 1-800-KUU-US17 (588-8717).

KUU-US also has an adult/elder line (250-723-4050) and a child/youth line (250-723-2040). Both can be accessed through 1-800-588-8717.

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