Psychosocial community supports

Topics: Nunavut, Community Health, Indigenous Communities
Michelle Palansky | March 25, 2021

Not widely known outside of Nunavut, the Canadian Red Cross provides psychosocial supports to communities in crisis that request help. During the pandemic, much of this support is virtual but the Red Cross social emergency team has found some unanticipated benefits in working this way.
After the unexpected death of a teacher in the Kitikmeot region (Western Nunavut), the Government of Nunavut requested support from the Red Cross to help school staff deal with grief and mitigate stress. The social emergency team provided virtual support and coaching to staff along with discussions on how to keep physically and emotionally safe during the pandemic.
The Red Cross team also forged connections between the community and other agencies, including the rapid response mental health team from Cambridge Bay that was able to provide in-person support while Red Cross continued with virtual contact. This pivot to both virtual and in-person contact allowed for more people in the community to receive the care they needed, when and how they needed it.
The Red Cross social emergency team sent care packages to the affected family and staff. The packages contained food, Red Cross blankets, and teddy bears.
One of the recipients of the care packages sent a text to the team expressing her gratitude. ““Thank you to everyone for your compassionate support to help my two daughters and I during this difficult time.”
Along with supports to communities in crisis, the Canadian Red Cross offers Psychological First Aid training to help learners build resiliency, encourage self-care, and develop an understanding of the impacts of trauma. There are both online and in-person modules available. More information on the training is available on the Red Cross website.
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