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Friendship Centre launching mental health support program

The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is working to help members of the community stay connected, as well as to address potential mental health and addiction struggles.

Claudia Fuentes, Program Coordinator for ‘Pikiskwetan Let’s Talk’, says the program was funded in October, and just recently launched at the beginning of December. She adds the delivery of the program is pretty simple, something she hopes will attract people to make use of its availability.

“We’ve been working to get connected with members… and organizations in the community so that we can best support our participants.”

“For now this program is all virtually delivered, so it is one-on-one support with video chat or phone calls, whatever the individual prefers,” she says.

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Fuentes says many of the Friendship Centre’s programs are migrating to a virtual platform to keep people connected both to each other and their culture. Pikiskwetan Let’s Talk works through what the centre is referring to as Mental Health Navigators, who will reach out to the individuals who want to participate. Once on the line, a navigator is also authorized to provide counselling to participants.

“Whatever it is they need, our navigators are there to get them connected to resources around the community, including our programs at the centre,” she explains. “It’s just lending an ear if somebody needs to discuss what they’re going through.”

The program has received funding enough to operate for one year. Fuentes says depending on how it’s utilized and if necessary, efforts will be made to extend funding into future years.

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