Government of Canada announces mental health wellness Help Line

Left untreated, mental illness can be incredibly damaging to individuals and communities.

  • Oct. 18, 2016 11:00 a.m.

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 Oct. 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.

Indigenous people are at a greater risk of experiencing mental health issues. Suicide is a significant concern in some communities, particularly in the North and in remote areas.

The Help Line is being funded as part of the $69 million announced by the Government of Canada in June 2016 to support crisis response teams, mental wellness teams and increased access to mental health care services.

The Government of Canada provides more than $300 million annually for mental wellness programming for First Nations on reserve and Inuit in Inuit communities.

“I have been deeply troubled by the many stories I have heard about First Nations and Inuit youth struggling with mental wellness,” said Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. “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.”

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, said First Nations and Inuit youth have communicated to her 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,” Bennett said. “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.”

The new toll-free number for the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line is 1-855-242-3310.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
OUR HOMETOWN: Lifelong learning

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe got his first teaching job in Williams Lake

Mayor Walt Cobb waves from atop a tractor as he turns onto Oliver Street in the Daybreak Rotary’s annual Stampede Parade. Patrick Davies photo.
Lack of funding, volunteers has Daybreak Rotary bowing out of Williams Lake Stampede parade

Club learned this week it won’t be receiving local government funding, for the second year in a row

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Most Read