October 9, 2020
By Jordan Cryderman
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to prioritize mental health during these times. The theme for 2020 is ‘investment in mental health services,’ and Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) continues to show its commitment to these services during the pandemic, most recently with a new program to support LGBTQ2+ members.
The Nanki Nezulne (Our Two Spirits) Adult LGBTQ2+ Health and Wellness Services program offers support and resources for those who identify with the LGBTQ2+ community. Inclusivity, acceptance, and education will be at the forefront of everything that the program offers. The program prioritizes a collaborative partnership with the Nations we serve in order to best inform the services offered, and to ensure appropriate methods and supports.
An online platform was developed for the Nanki Nezulne program in order to keep services accessible for the LGBTQ2+ community. A dedicated website will be home to services, resources, and education, all of which can be accessed from the comfort of a person’s home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an online platform is even more critical. The website is not live yet, but is expected to be live over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more information.
Being an Indigenous organization, the Nanki Nezulne program serves two communities that have historically been marginalized and oppressed: Indigenous and LGBTQ2+. Brittany Clark-Wakefield, the mental health counsellor for the Nanki Nezulne program, says this ‘intersectionality’ was a key component to developing the program.
Intersectionality was a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 that describes how race, gender, sexuality, class and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another. These characteristics greatly impact individual experiences and how a person may encounter the world. Clark-Wakefield says intersectionality has informed how the Nanki Nezulne program will operate.
“I strongly believe that CSFS mental health and wellness programs, including Nanki Nezulne, acknowledges and prioritizes services that assist towards overcoming the severe repercussions of intergenerational trauma as a result of residential schools and colonialism. For example, when addressing gender and sexuality challenges, including the traditional cultural role and identity of Two-Spirited people, it is incredibly important our program recognizes the impact of colonialism in the Nations we serve. More specifically, there may be differences in knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ2+ topics and issues as a result of colonialism.”
The Nanki Nezulne program is just one example of the many investments CSFS is making to ensure we can support all communities on World Mental Health Day. CSFS pledges to continue developing its mental health services, and will strive to continually improve and address unique challenges that arise in the Nations we serve.
For more inquiries about the Nanki Nezulne services, please contact:
Mental Health Counsellor
Special Projects – Resource and Inclusion
Last modified: Friday 12-Jun-20 15:43:45 PDT