Well it definitely has been an exciting road to get to the official go-live of Talk4Healing. We successfully launched our free and culturally safe telephone help line for Aboriginal women on October 19th, 2012. With this first blog post, I would like to use the opportunity to thank all of those involved in making this crucial new service a reality.
Big thanks go out to our supporting agencies; Beendigen and ONWA. Their support and direction on this project has been amazing. The Ministry of Community and Social Services- we thank you for your hard work as well. To my provincial counterparts of Fem’aide and the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, I would like to thank you so much for your knowledge and the sharing of your resources. Most importantly, I have to send a very special thank you to the communities who identified the need and spoke up about wanting this particular service available. I would also like to thank our elders who advised us on this process and shared their stories and teachings to help us along our path. Finally I would like to thank our Talk4 Healing staff team who have been amazing in helping set up the line and manning the phones; without everyone involved we would not be where we are today.
Talk4Healing is available to all Aboriginal women living in urban, rural and remote communities throughout Northern Ontario. It is really a vast geographical area and we have 11 districts to cover, stretching all the way from the Manitoba border to Quebec, and from the Hudson and James Bay coastline down to the Muskokas and Nippissing. I have to say, collecting the resources and learning about all these areas has been really exciting and we will be continuing to learn about all the communities and wonderful services all these places have to offer.
At Talk4Healing we truly understand that Aboriginal women in Northern Ontario can feel isolated and many believe that they have nowhere to turn for help when they need it. Our telephone counsellors are trained Aboriginal women helping Aboriginal women. We have services in English, Cree, Oji-Cree, Ojibway and through a partnership with Fem’aide, we will work together to address the needs of Francophone Aboriginal women. We also have TTY capabilities to assist those women who may be deaf or hard of hearing. We aim to have our service be as accessible as possible for all Aboriginal women.
One of the unique features of our line is that you can access scheduled telephone counselling. This is a service to help those women in remote areas begin healing. When you call the Talk4Healing line just request a referral to telephone counselling and we will do the rest. You will be assigned a counsellor who you will be able to work with on a regular basis to address some of the issues you may be facing in your life. We understand there are often limitations to the services available in the North and we hope that through this service, we will no longer be limiting Aboriginal women in getting the help they need due to geographical issues.
Being part of this project has been an amazing experience. As we enter our next chapter on this road to healing, it also means reaching out and letting women across the region know that we are hear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We want to help and hope that you will call us because when you do, you will find a caring counsellor who respects the identity and confidentiality of every Aboriginal women and her family. We look forward to helping Aboriginal women. Your journey to healing starts here.