New online counselling chat service available for Canada’s Indigenous people

Suicide rates in the world's circumpolar communities remain several times higher than their southern counterparts. (iStock)
The Government of Canada is now offering counselling to Indigenous communities in English and French, but is exploring the possibility to offer the service in Indigenous languages as well. The phone service is already available in five languages (English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut). (iStock)
The government of Canada has launched an online counselling chat service specific to Indigenous people it said in a news release on Tuesday.

The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line, which has been offering toll-free, 24/7 phone counselling and crisis intervention since October 2016, was not yet available online.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada says the new service is aimed at Indigenous youth, who “are more at ease using the internet and handheld devices to access services and seek support.”

Though the phone service is available in five languages (English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut), the new chat service is, as of now, only offered in English and French. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, however, isn’t excluding the possibility of expanding the online service to Indigenous languages.

Need help?
You can reach the Hope for Wellness online chat line at www.hopeforwellness.ca (English) or www.espoirpourlemieuxetre.ca (French). You can also call their toll-free number at 1-855-242-3310.
Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Climate change exacerbates mental health problems in Labrador’s Inuit communities, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s suicide stats continue to fall, YLE news

Russia:  Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Sweden: Gender stereotypes behind high suicide rate, Radio Sweden

United States: Words, a powerful tool against suicide in Alaska, Alaska Public Radio Network

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Lynn Desjardins, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Lynn has dedicated her working life to journalism. After decades in the field, she still believes journalism to be a pillar of democracy and she remains committed to telling stories she believes are important or interesting. Lynn loves Canada and embraces all seasons: skiing, skating, and sledding in winter, hiking, swimming and playing tennis in summer and running all the time. She is a voracious consumer of Canadian literature, public radio programs and classical music. Family and friends are most important. Good and unusual foods are fun. She travels when possible and enjoys the wilderness.

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