Adults living in the Cowichan Valley.
Community Counselling Fund
What This Grantee Is Doing for Community Counselling
Hiiye’yu Lelum Counselling offers low-barrier, no-cost counselling services to adults in the Cowichan Valley. Counselling services are provided for those that may be experiencing addiction, grief and loss, anxiety, depression or trauma responses. The program can assist those working to increase their skills in emotional regulation or help examine the impact of colonization on family dynamics and intergenerational trauma. The program provides individual, couples, family and group counselling, and counsellors strive to meet each individual with compassion, respect, and integrity.
Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship) Society operates in the unceded traditional territory of the Quw’utsun Hwulmuhw (Cowichan Tribes) on Vancouver Island. They serve the entire Cowichan Valley with an open door policy in a status-blind manor. The center provides health, social, recreational, and cultural services to promote individual, family, and community self-reliance. These services address the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people and focus on well-being within a cross-cultural context.
Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship) Society is a member of the Friendship Centre Movement (FCM), the country’s most significant urban Indigenous service delivery infrastructure. Friendship Centres are not-for-profit and charity corporations that are mandated to serve the needs of urban Indigenous people by providing culturally appropriate services in urban communities.
"The need for low-barrier counselling has been magnified during the COVID pandemic and the overdose crisis. While COVID numbers have remained relatively low here on the island, protocols in place to maintain these numbers are having a profound effect on our community. We are conscious that connecting with culture and language are good medicine; the need for social distancing has meant that people are unable to meet for cultural practice. This increases the sense of isolation and desperation that many people feel. Meeting with a counsellor has created a space for healing and connection. As in many communities, the opioid crisis has impacted our community, with the loss of many members including youth. There has also been the trauma of individuals experiencing multiple resuscitations or witnessing the revival from overdose of friends and family. This also impacts our staff, as many of our clients and/or their family, are struggling with addiction. Our staff appreciate the opportunity to refer clients to counselling in a timely manner; ensuring their clients are connected with mental health professionals helps our staff in turn with their own self-care. They feel a sense of relief when they know their clients are connected and are then able to continue working in the field without exhausting themselves. We believe that “burn-out” occurs not because of “difficult clients” but rather because of lack of resources or unresponsive systems. Community counselling can help address this; our clients feel heard and valued because our counsellors are knowledgeable and understand the challenges and strengths of our community."