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Bell Let’s Talk allocates thousands to expand mental health program in Indigenous communities

The money will go towards expanding the Friendly Calls program created by the Canadian Red Cross

Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative is helping to enhance a crisis support service aimed at Indigenous communities.

$250,000 is being allocated to expand the Friendly Calls program put on by the Canadian Red Cross.

The program pairs a trained volunteer with callers feeling isolated for a social conversation and are connected to mental health supports in their communities. Feelings of loneliness and isolation have been growing problems during the ongoing pandemic.

The expansion will see the organization working with various Indigenous organizations, such as the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, to focus the program on the experiences specific communities face. Various Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers will also take part in designing the expansion later this year.

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said the pandemic impacted the mental health of many, adding to the challenges Indigenous youth and their families face on a daily basis.

“From pandemic response to vaccination campaigns to emergency preparedness efforts, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has a strong working relationship with the Canadian Red Cross. We look forward to supporting the development of their Friendly Calls program for Indigenous communities in partnership with Bell Let’s Talk,” Dumas said in a statement.

The funds are coming from a $700,000 donation made by Bell Let’s Talk and the Canadian Red Cross in 2020.

Source: Bell

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