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NWT Help Line expanding to include group sessions

Imagine getting mental health counselling without even leaving your home. The NWT Help Line has expanded its services to include call-in group sessions.

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The anonymous sessions will offer residents support on a variety of topics, including suicide awareness, depression and addictions.

“The sessions are based on what we heard are the most common reasons people are calling the helpline,” explained Patricia Kyle, assistant deputy minister of families and communities with the territory’s Department of Health.

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“It’ll be topics or conversations around coping strategies, learning from each other, sharing personal experiences and supporting each other.”

Two types of sessions will be available, including open sessions that will host up to 23 people and act more as information sessions, while smaller closed sessions of up to ten people will get more personal.

“[Closed sessions are] a smaller group where they have opportunities to speak with each other as well as a counsellor, share similar experiences and learn new strategies,” said Kyle.

Callers are encouraged to participate as much or as little as they choose. The can engage in discussions or be a fly-on-the-wall, Kyle says, whichever makes them more comfortable.

“One of the great things about the information sessions is that they’re that – information sessions,” Kyle said. “If they would like to participate and speak they can, if they don’t want to that’s fine too.”

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Available for anyone

“We believe it’s important to ensure that there’s a range of options available for residents in the territory,” Kyle explained.

For the sessions, timing is key.

“It’s in the evenings,” she said, at a time when most people don’t have obligations that would get in the way of them calling in.

“People can do this from the comfort of their home or wherever they’d like to call in from, and it’s available for anyone across the territory.”

The first open session will take place on Monday at 8 p.m. and will surround the topic of suicide awareness. The NWT has the second-highest rate of suicide in all of Canada.

Residents will have to register before being given the call-in number for the confidential sessions.

To register, call the NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844 or visit their website.

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