Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. (KIM) are collaborating with Mental Wellness Services in Manitoba to support Northern First Nations’ leadership and Health Directors during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Feelings of distress, anxiety, fear, and grief can heighten as Manitoba communities practice social and physical distancing during this unprecedented health crisis. In response to the need for people to access mental wellness support and service during COVID-19, mental wellness teams and programs have adapted their methods of communication and will respond through virtual means to continue serving those coping with suicide attempts, completed suicides, homicide, multiple deaths, trauma due to violent assault, or other serious events that impact many people.

Each Wellness Team is committed to:

  • Providing confidential mental wellness support with a culturally safe and trauma-informed care approach to all Manitoba First Nations on and off reserve.
  • Ensuring all services and on-call crisis responses are accessible via telephone or text with various services, including virtual support with FaceTime and/or Zoom video conferencing, where applicable.
  • Ensuring their mental wellness team members and health care providers are trained to help manage an individual’s mental health during COVID-19.
  • Sharing the most current and accurate information-based facts from provincial and federal public health authorities.
  • Staying informed of safety measures during COVID-19, as guided by the Province of Manitoba Chief Public Health Officer and public health authorities.

Mental Wellness Supports in Manitoba 

This section provides information about:

  • Dakota Ojibway Health Services
  • Interlake Reserves Tribal Council
  • Opaskwayak Health Authority
  • Southeast Resource Development Council
  • Keewatin Tribal Council
  • Natawiwewak Medical Clinic

Dakota Ojibway Health Services

  • Available since 2017, the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC) based in Headingley, provides an on-call crisis response for youth and adults who are in crisis due to mental health concerns, suicide, and/or addiction issues.
  • An on-call service will be available during the COVID-19 pandemic via telephone and FaceTime. The on-call service is open to talk and debrief with the local health care providers and community members that are feeling isolated and distressed.
  • Services six communities: Birdtail Sioux, Dakota Tipi, Long Plain, Roseau River, Sandy Bay, and Swan Lake
  • Connect with the DOTC Mental Wellness Team: 1-833-600-0087

 Interlake Reserves Tribal Council

  • Available since 2017, the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRTC) is located in Winnipeg and provides virtual support during COVID-19.
  • In a time of crisis, team members will attend to the community using highly sensitive and precautionary measures, as advised by Manitoba’s public health authorities. The Mental Wellness Team is tracking calls and supports for mental wellness. The IRTC Health Directors connect every Tuesday and Thursday via teleconference.
  • Services six communities: Dauphin River, Kinonjeoshtegon, Lake Manitoba, Little Saskatchewan, Peguis, and Pinaymootang
  • IRTC’s website and Facebook page will have information about coping skills for stress and anxiety.
  • Connect with the IRTC Mental Wellness Team:
    • Lalith Nagella, Harm Reduction Coordinator/ Tribal Wellness Supervisor
    • Tel: (204) 590-9603
      Email: [email protected]

Opaskwayak Health Authority

  • Available since 2018, the Opaskwayak Health Authority (OHA) is based in Opaskwayak. The Mental Wellness Team consists of five counsellors, including OHA counsellors who are available via telephone to provide follow-up care with clients, and Opioid Replacement Therapy physician clinics who are available via Telehealth on the regular scheduled dates. Telehealth is being set up for clients to have follow-up appointments with their treatment. The team is contacting clients on a regular basis and is expanding days/hours of operation to accommodate people struggling with stress related to the global crisis.
  • New office hours during COVID-19:
    • Monday & Tuesday: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
    • Wednesday – Friday: 8:30 am – 9:00 pm
    • Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Please note that this team does not have NIHB therapists assigned.
  • Services communities affiliated with Swampy Cree Tribal Council: Marcel Colomb, Mathias Colomb, Mosakahiken, Opaskwayak, Sapotaweyak, Misipawistik Cree Nation, and Wuskwi Sipihk
    *Services are available to anyone who seeks support during this difficult time.
  • Connect with the OHA Mental Wellness Team during office hours:
    Tel: (204) 627-7410   
    Fax: (204) 623-3907   or:
  • Sarah Linklater, Mental Health Manager
    Tel: (204) 627-7426
    Confidential fax: (204) 623-3907
  • Connect with the Crisis Line after hours: Tel: (204) 623-0519 

Southeast Resource Development Council

  • Available since 2018, the Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC) is in Winnipeg and has a team of nine staff including outreach workers, therapists, a cultural advisor, addiction specialists, Indian Residential School, Resolution Health Support Worker, and MMIWG support workers.
  • During COVID-19, the team provides virtual support via telehealth, telephone, or videoconferencing for counselling and therapy to youth and adults who may experience feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety.
  • Services eight communities: Berens River, Black River, Bloodvein, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Hollow Water, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi, and Poplar River
  • SERDC website and Facebook page offers updates and supports.
  • Connect with the Mental Wellness Team Program Manager Carol McCorrister:

 Keewatin Tribal Council

  • Available since 2017, the Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC) Mental Wellness Team in Thompson consists of 14 staff that include Crisis Response, Mental Wellness, Cultural Advisors, National Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) Counsellor, and a Mental Health Therapist.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mental Wellness Team provides on-call crisis services 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, through telehealth, telephone, or teleconferencing. One-on-one counselling, family counselling, and therapy is available to youth and/or adults who struggle with addictions, substance abuse, suicide ideation, and unresolved trauma and grief.
  • The Wellness Team recognizes the need to support local health care providers (HCP) during this pandemic and are available to talk and debrief with HCPs that find themselves overwhelmed and struggling during this challenging time.
  • Services 11 communities: Barren Lands, Bunibonibee, Fox Lake, God’s Lake, Manto Sipi, Northlands, Sayisi Dene, Shamattawa, Tataskweyak, War Lake, and York Factory
  • KTC website, Facebook page, and local community radio stations will have information about COVID-19 to deal with social distancing and isolation including fun activities and contests.
  • Connect with the Crisis On-Call:
    Cell: (204) 307-1905 or
    (204) 307-0118
  • Connect with the KTC Mental Wellness Team:
    Tel: (204) 677-7410
    Fax: (204) 677-0255

 Natawiwewak Medical Clinic

  • Available since 2018 and based in Winnipeg, the Natawiwewak Medical Clinic (NMC) provides a range of mental wellness supports including adult psychiatry services, clinical assessments, counselling, therapy, case management, and service coordination. The Mental Wellness Team consists of psychiatrists, clinicians, and local mental wellness community support workers.
  • During COVID-19, the NMC offices at the Health Centre and the Quest Inn will remain open and provide virtual support via telephone and Telehealth and will provide mental wellness services to partnering community members who have found themselves in Winnipeg and are requiring mental wellness services.
  • Services four communities: Bunibonibee, Chemawawin, God’s Lake, and Manto Sipi
  • Connect with the Mental Wellness Team:
    Tel: (204) 417-8877
    Fax: (204) 417-7744

    • Amelia Clarke, RSW, BSW (Gods Lake Cree Nation/Manto Sipi Cree Nation)
      Tel: (204) 670-1058
      Email: [email protected]
    • Corey Spence BSW (Chemawawin Cree Nation)
      Tel: (431) 754-0929
      Email: [email protected]
    • Joy Koczka, RSW, MSW, BSW, BA (Bunibonibee Cree Nation/Manto Sipi Cree Nation)
      Tel: (204) 229-5488
      Email: [email protected]
    • Ken MacKenzie, RSW, MSW, BSW BA (Consulting Clinic Director)
      Tel: (204) 232-3033
      Email: [email protected]
    • Kirsty Muller, RN, BN (Bunibonibee Cree Nation/Gods Lake Cree Nation)
      Tel: (204) 298-8142
      Email: [email protected]

Mobile Crisis Response Team at Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. 

  • Available since 2017, the Winnipeg and Thompson teams consist of 12 members working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams provide a holistic, culturally sensitive, and safe crisis response and trauma intervention to First Nations in Manitoba, as it relates to completed suicides, suicide attempts, homicide, multiple deaths, and traumatic events such as violent assault or serious events that impact many people. Each request for service will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine intervention to support the crisis experienced in the community through video conference or telephone.
  • Services: First Nations in Manitoba and eligible status citizens living on or off reserve in Manitoba
  • MKO website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube accounts have information about COVID-19.
  • Connect with the Mobile Crisis Response Team: 1‐844‐927‐LIFE (5433)
    Email: [email protected]

Traditional Healer Services

  • MKO’s Traditional Healer Program, based in Thompson, has a team of three working from home during COVID-19 and provides culturally safe access to traditional healing. Supports for traditional healing normally involves ceremonies, traditional medicines, and land-based activities to acquire traditional teachings from Indigenous Knowledge Keepers.
  • Each request for service will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine access to a Traditional Healer. Services will be limited to individual consults through virtual supports primarily by phone.
  • Services: Manitoba First Nations, eligible status citizens living on or off reserve in Manitoba
  • MKO website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube accounts have information about COVID-19.
  • Connect with the Traditional Healer Program Manager, Duke Beardy
    Tel: (204) 307-8192
    Email: [email protected]

 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG)

  • Available since 2018, the MKO MMIWG Liaison Unit is based in Winnipeg and Thompson.
  • With a team of six staff working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are using other communication platforms to continue services to those seeking access to mental, emotional, and cultural wellness support services, including 2SLGBTQQIA+, family members who are affected by MMIWG, or to those who are survivors of violence. The MKO MMIWG Liaison Unit is trained to provide support that is trauma-informed, culturally appropriate, community-based, holistic, and focused on providing a direct and integrated approach.
  • Services: First Nations, Inuit, Metis, non-status, and non-Aboriginal people living in Manitoba
  • MKO website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube accounts have information about COVID-19.
  • The MMIWG Facebook page will have information about COVID-19.
  • Connect with MMIWG Liaison Unit Manager, Hilda Anderson-Pyrz
    Tel: (204) 307-5919
    Email: [email protected]

Additional Resources:

This section outlines the following:

  • Non-Insured Health Benefits Program Mental Health Therapists
  • Local Emergency Services and Help Lines

Non-Insured Health Benefits Program Mental Health Therapists

  • People may contact their mental health service provider to confirm whether they can provide counselling services via telephone.
  • Telehealth mental wellness services by eligible providers are covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program.
  • According to the COVID-19 Pandemic Updates to First Nations, NIHB still have many therapists travelling into communities, as of March 24, 2020.
  • Services: First Nations who are registered under The Indian Act, or Inuk recognized by an Inuit land claim organization.
  • To read about client eligibility, please visit the Government of Canada website.
  • Connect with NIHB for a mental health therapist: Tel: (204) 983-4571

Or email the NIHB Mental Health Services, Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Indigenous Services Canada/Government of Canada:

Local Emergency Services and Help Lines

If experiencing a life‐threatening crisis, please contact your local emergency services (911) or RCMP detachment.

Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line: Reason to Live

  • The Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support line is a toll-free, confidential, and a 24-hour crisis line run by trained counsellors from the Klinic Community Health Centre. It provides immediate support and service to those struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, or to those concerned about a friend’s mental wellness and/or safety, and to family member impacted by a suicide loss or suicide attempt. Our counsellors understand that many people struggle with suicidal thoughts or behaviours.
  • Toll Free Prevention and Support Line: 1-877‐435-7170

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness

  • If you’re experiencing emotional distress and want to talk, the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness offers an individual crisis support line open 24/7.
  • Toll Free Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1‐855-242-3310

Winnipeg Crisis Response Centre (CRC)

  • Mental health experts are available 24/7 to help adults experiencing:
    • A mental health crisis with the risk of potential harm associated with an immediate crisis including suicidal thoughts and behaviour
    • Personal distress and other signs and symptoms of a mental health condition requiring urgent mental health assessment and treatment
    • Intense emotional trauma where assessment, crisis intervention, and linkage to other services are required
    • An immediate risk is posed after hours when the ongoing mental health service provider is not available
  • Connect with the Mental Wellness Team: (204) 788-8330 or visit this website

 Winnipeg Mobile Crisis Service

  • Mobile Crisis Staff are available 24/7
  • Offers crisis intervention, mental health assessment, telephone consultation and support, health education on mental illness, medication, coping strategies and preventative techniques, liaison and referral to community resources, support to family members and other concerned individuals, psychiatric consultation and assessment, and short-term follow-up.
  • Connect with the Mobile Crisis Service: (204) 940-1781 

For more information, contact:

Theresa Yetman, Mental Health Program Manager, MKO
 [email protected]
Work cell:
(204) 795-4253

Theresa Garson, Mental Wellness Benefits Analyst
[email protected]
Work cell: (204) 391-3356