• Government of Canada Announces Mental Wellness Help Line for Indigenous Peoples
Oct 28, 2016

The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line provides culturally competent support 24/7

Left untreated, mental illness can be incredibly damaging to individuals and communities, and supports need to be both accessible and culturally appropriate. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to working with First Nations and Inuit leaders, as well as provincial and territorial governments, to provide effective, sustainable and culturally appropriate mental wellness programs and services for First Nations and Inuit.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced the launch of the national toll-free First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line. The Help Line, which started operation on October 1, provides immediate, culturally competent, telephone crisis intervention counselling support for First Nations and Inuit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Counsellors can also work with callers to identify follow-up services they can access. Counselling is available in English and French and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktut.

Health Canada will continue to work with Indigenous leaders to develop a long-term plan to address mental health issues being faced by Indigenous peoples.

Quick Facts

    Quotes

    “I have been deeply troubled by the many stories I have heard about First Nations and Inuit youth struggling with mental wellness. This Government acknowledges the scope and seriousness of the mental health issues facing many First Nations and Inuit communities across the country, and we are committed to working collaboratively with our partners to address these complex issues. The launch of the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line

    is an important step forward and makes culturally safe telephone counselling support available around the clock and across the country, for those who need it, when they need it.”

    Jane Philpott
    Minister of Health

     

    "First Nations and Inuit youth have told us about the challenges they face - from bullying to low self-esteem, from sexual violence to a lost sense of purpose and secure-cultural identity. ‎It is our job to make sure youth have the support they need, and that they do not lose hope. Proper mental health starts with strong homes and families. That is why we ‎made historic investments, $8.4 billion, through Budget 2016 to support Indigenous people across the country, which includes addressing gaps in housing and child welfare. With the launch of the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line‎, youth will now have a culturally safe place - in their language, including in Inuktut, to tell their stories, which we hope will bring much needed ‎healing."

    Carolyn Bennett
    Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

     

    “We welcome Minister Philpott’s recognition of the urgent mental wellness needs in our communities, and we welcome the establishment of the Help Line. The Help Line must be fully supported to provide immediate assistance to our community members in times of need. This is just one tool that can be used to provide comprehensive mental wellness and life promotion services in all First Nations communities across the country. True reconciliation means closing the gaps in health service delivery and promoting positive and healthy lifestyles for First Nations.”

    Isadore Day
    AFN Regional Chief, Ontario

     

    “We must provide Inuit who need help – especially young Inuit – with the supports they require in a culturally safe manner. The creation of a national crisis line for Inuit and First Nations is a welcome step in the right direction. As directed by the 2016 National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, ITK will continue to work with national, regional, and community partners to ensure that Inuit across Inuit Nunangat have access to Inuit-specific help lines in our own language, Inuktitut [Inuktut]. I look forward to working with Health Canada towards the development of a continuum of mental wellness services for Inuit, of which this initiative will be a key part.”

    Natan Obed
    President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatmi