Helpline for Indigenous women expands service throughout Ontario

October 19, 2018

A telephone helpline that offers support for Indigenous women in Northern Ontario is expanding its services to the rest of Ontario on Friday.

After six years of operation, Talk4Healing has received funding from the provincial government to offer services to the entire province.

"We're excited to be able to offer this into the south," said Robin Haliuk, Talk4Healing's supervisor.

"We know that there is a huge Indigenous population through southern Ontario, so we're excited to reach out and let women know that we're here and we're there for them."

The help Talk4Healing offers ranges from urgent crisis intervention to assistance navigating situations or providing a listening ear.

"It's listening to their story, really hearing their stories of where they're coming from and actually getting an understanding of where they are at," said Dionne Beardy, a frontline worker who offers counselling to callers.

"It could be trauma, domestic violence, relationships, a crisis or loss — we're here to support women where they are at, at that moment."

Beardy is an Anishinaabe women from Muskrat Dam First Nation in Northwestern Ontario who has been working with Talk4Healing since it launched.

About 90 per cent of the staff working the phone lines are Indigenous and all of the staff at Talk4Healing are women.

Read more: Helpline for Indigenous women expands service throughout Ontario