Bell Let’s Talk gives $20,000 to Arctic Children and Youth Foundation
Funds will support the creation of a cultural healing space and hiring of an Inuktitut-speaking counsellor
During a small celebration at the Iqaluit aquatic centre on Wednesday morning, the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation received $20,000 from Bell Let’s Talk as part of its annual community fund.
Now in its tenth year, Bell Let’s Talk has given more than $1 million annually to organizations that work to improve access to mental health care across the country.
“Congratulations to the entire team at the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, and thank you for the tireless work you’re doing,” said Gabby Fuentes Morrill, Northwestel’s manager of government relations and community engagement.
The funds will go towards the creation of a cultural healing space and the hiring of an Inuktitut-English bilingual counsellor for Iqaluit’s Umingmak Child and Youth Support Centre, which helps victims of child abuse.
The Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, which opened the centre in October of last year, was started by a group of Nunavummiut who worked with youth in different capacities, such as the departments of Child and Family Services, Education, Health and Justice, and the RCMP.
“Children and youth are born resilient,” said Laura Churchill, the child and family advocate for the Umingmak Centre.
“We see that every day when they walk into the centre. We want to help them build that resilience and remind them that what they’ve experienced does not define who they are.”
The centre has two child and family advocates, a therapist and clinical director who is experienced in working with children, a child-friendly interview room where RCMP officers and social workers come in to do their collaborative work, and a medical examination room where pediatricians go to see patients.
“This one-stop-shop approach has proven to be effective and less intimidating for children,” said Churchill.
In the future, the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation hope to expand to other communities across the territory.
“I’m proud of these children for letting us help and for opening themselves to heal at such young ages,” said Churchill.
“This is where we break the cycle of abuse and intervene as soon as possible to ensure that they’re given an opportunity to heal.”
The gathering concluded with the raising of the Let’s Talk flag over city hall.
“This flag is going to remind our community that it’s OK to reach out and it’s OK to talk about mental health, and they’re not alone,” said Morrill.
For those looking for anonymous support, there are a number of options:
- The Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line (Inuktitut, English)—available 24 hours a day, seven days a week—call 867-979-3333 or toll free at 1-800-265-3333.
- Hope for Wellness Helpline (available in all Nunavut official languages)—available 24 hours a day, seven days a week—call toll free at 1-855-242-3310.
- Crisis Services Canada (English, French)—chat at www.crisisservicescanada.ca, call 1-833-456-4566 toll free or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and midnight.
- Kids Help Phone (English, French)—call 1-800-668-6868, use the live chat at www.kidshelpphone.ca, or text ‘TALK’ to 686868.
If you’d like to know more about Bell Let’s Talk, you can visit their website.