Talk4Healing coordinator Robin Haliuk says the help line has been a long-time coming.
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THUNDER BAY -- Aboriginal women in Northern Ontario now have access to crisis and support services at their fingertips.
Beendigen and the Ontario Native Women’s Association launched Talk4Healing, a 24/7 help line for Aboriginal women, Friday at the Italian Cultural Centre.
Talk4Healing will provide women in remote and isolated communities with access to culturally sensitive counseling and crisis support over the phone in English, Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree as well as for hearing impaired women.
“It’s a big relief,” said Patricia Jurivee, executive director of Beendigen. “It’s something that’s been needed for a long time and we’re so happy and proud to finally bring this Talk4Healing crisis line to fruition.”
Jurivee said they have been working for many year, advocating and talking amongst each other in First Nation communities about getting the help line created.
“The help line is important to women in Northern communities and very isolated communities because there are no resources there and if there are, there’s very little of those services,” she said. “The help line will then fill those services for the Aboriginal women in those communities.”
Talk4Healing coordinator Robin Haliuk said the program is about Aboriginal women helping other Aboriginal women and having the operators speak the different languages is an important part of the help line.
“It’s part of being comfortable,” she said, adding they also have an understanding of the issues many women in remote and isolated communities face.
“Some of our telephone counsellors are from the Northern communities, so they really do understand living in a remote, isolated community and not having road access or not knowing how to get out of a community or keep yourself safe,” she said.
Talk4Healing is also supported by the Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services.
The toll free number is 1-855-554-HEAL. For more information visit www.talk4healing.com.
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