North of 60 star Dakota House has teamed up with a non-profit organization in Edmonton to get a message out about suicide hotline and the mental health effects of the global pandemic.
“What I really want people to know is you are not alone, and there is help out there,” said House. “The Ben Calf Robe Society offers this help.”
The Ben Calf Robe Society, named after the Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor who “worked to bridge the gap between the non-Indigenous population and the Indigenous people,” is a non-profit organization in Edmonton that offers programs for families, children in care and suicide prevention.
It receives money from the federal, provincial governments along with several large businesses and the United Way.
House teamed up with the society to produce a two minute public service announcement to get the word out that help is available for those people who may have suicidal thoughts.
A University of Toronto study linked suicide to the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment.
In the PSA, House encourages people who are considering harming themselves to call the Hotline.
“The outlets are so few and far between. We need to have and we need to know that there is an organization, there are people out there that we can help, and you are not alone,” he says.
Alberta Health is providing the money for the hotline.
Ben Calf Robe Society PSA
The society is starting to train people now in preparation of going out to communities to help.
House’s own non-profit organization, Going Miles, offers workshops and traditional teaching to Indigenous youth.
“With the work that we do with Going Miles, I’m also going to be taking the training here at Ben Calf Society, suicide prevention training,” House says. “It’s just going to up my level a little bit more. I already do workshops on suicide. But this is going to take it to another level.
Training the trainers. So I’ll be able to train the trainers in the communities.
“I’m traveling all over North America, and I’ll be able to take that message, and be able to assist and help train the trainers out there.”
Claudette Dewitt, CEO of the society says workers will be going to communities to let them know the hotline is available.
“If anybody is ever in need, sometimes you just need somebody to talk to, that we can be there,” she said.
“If it’s beyond our scope, we have the resources to refer people to the proper resources.”
The number is available toll free at 780-477-6648.