Jasmine Perley sits at her post in the offices of the Wolastoqey Tribal Council.

Just coming to work in this time of pandemic is a heroic act. For months
COVID-19 has shut down normal life for the Wolastoqey people, and all
Canadians. This has meant Perley, as the Tribal Council’s health benefit’s
navigator, has had to step-up. Her phone rings with questions constantly.

“During a time of such uncertainty, it is important for our people to know what supports exist,” she says. “Everyone is experiencing social isolation in different ways—while some enjoy the time alone, others struggle. It is crucial for community members to be aware of the resources available to them in times of need—you are not alone.” Through the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB), eligible First Nations are entitled to up to 22 hours of Mental Health counselling with a registered clinician.

During COVID-19, many of these clinicians are offering tele-counselling services. As the NIHB Navigator, Perley encourages those interested to contact her directly at (506) 206-0150 for more information.

“Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has launched the First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line, an online chat counselling service that is available completely online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” she says. “This service provides immediate mental health counselling and crisis
intervention to all Indigenous people across Canada.” The toll-free number is 1 (855) 242-3310, or the chat option can be used at: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/.

“Our community Health and Wellness Centres are staffed with many competent and warm-hearted people who have made it their duty to better the lives of our people,” she says. “Contact your Health Centre staff for guidance and support during these trying times.” Useful resources can be accessed at the following numbers:

CHIMO 1 (800) 667 – 5005
Kid’s Help Phone 1 (800) 668 – 6868
National Suicide Hotline 1 (800) 273 – 8255

“Please do not hesitate to reach out if you or someone you know is struggling. COVID-19 has presented us with
obstacles that we need to work through together,” Perley says.