Ground-Breaking Technology & Tradition Connect to Help More Indigenous Women

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Talk4Healing, a crucial helpline for Indigenous women, launched new text and chat technology that will increase the ability to provide support and services across Ontario.

“Technology is having epochal changes on how people communicate and is a human story that is evolving every day. Talking on the telephone to connect with others is fast becoming a trend of the past,” explains Debra Vermette, Executive Director of Beendigen. “Women now have a choice in how they connect with the helpline. A live, trained counsellor can talk with callers over the phone, text through mobile device, or chat via the Talk4Healing website’s Live Chat, providing culturally sensitive crisis counselling, advice and support.”

All talk, chat and text services are free, confidential and protected. Talk4Healing, offers 24/7 help, support and resources for Indigenous women, by Indigenous women, in 14 Indigenous languages as well as English. Over the past six years, the helpline has received nearly 20,000 calls from northern communities.

“Wherever you are, we’re here for you. This new technology will enable Talk4Healing to reach a broader demographic, including younger Indigenous women that have identified that they are more comfortable texting. Whether you are at home or on the go, texting is a norm in today’s society and is more accessible in certain situations in which women are at risk. This new service should also provide comfort for those that might be too hesitant to call over the phone, but does not compromise the culturally sensitive support,” says Robin Haliuk, Talk4Healing Supervisor. “Talk4Healing services focus on the acceptance of Indigenous women’s issues in a non-judgmental way.”

“I’ve personally experienced mental health challenges in my life and know how critical support like Talk4Healing is for young women like myself. This new texting option allows a younger demographic to communicate in a way that is more comfortable for us, and it could have the potential to save a life,” says Melinda Henderson. The 26-year-old is featured in new promotional photography for the helpline and is inspired to use her voice to share information about Talk4Healing.

Since it’s launch in October 2012, Talk4Healing has helped Indigenous women through various issues and circumstances such as escaping violent relationships, health and wellness, difficult personal relationships, financial turmoil and addiction.

Talk4Healing is a partnership between Beendigen and Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA).