Newo Yotina Friendship Centre - Post-pandemic recovery takes many forms
- Memory McLeod | January 05, 2023
One can hardly open a social media app these days without seeing information about mental health.
The months of isolation have taken their toll on the wellbeing of most Canadians and now some of the most vulnerable women and Two-Spirit people in Regina and Saskatoon have a chance to gather to address post pandemic recovery and wellness.
Mental health is paramount in the post pandemic recovery process. People want to feel better, but that doesn’t look the same for everyone. Honouring Her Spark is one response that highlights inclusivity to female and Two-Spirit clients offered through the Yotina Friendship Centre in Regina and the Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre.
Though in its infancy stage, the initiative comes from a need for people to gather together and build community once again, said coordinator Lindsay Cottin.
“The idea came out of the pandemic…how do we address the needs of people who have been stuck at home who may have otherwise been able to access programming and advocacy,” said Cottin. “We have different programs here that address needs varying from housing, addictions, or employment for whoever needs that support. We are an inclusive place for people to come and take part in what our community has to offer.”
By bringing in local talent and wellness practitioners, the program provides a well-rounded offering of classes and events to lift a weary spirit. The program seeks to apply the four aspects of the medicine wheel to address the mental, spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing.
“We wanted to take a holistic approach to mental health,” said Cottin. “We are open to ideas, and have kind of blended it so that all women, or those who identify as women or Two-Spirit have a safe place to come and learn ways to do self-care.”
One popular choice this past summer was having clients learn about a new indigenous Birthing Program training birth helpers to support families as they navigate through the birthing process.
“That was something new that we were proud to offer and to be able to bring those programs into the inner city, a population sometimes overlooked in access,” said Cottin. “We try to identify those gaps and look for ways to utilize what is available.”
She pointed out that recovery entails more than just regaining programs and services lost during the pandemic.
“It’s personal for our clients, we hear what the needs are and try to respond to that. We are listening for how those mental health needs, that anxiety can be alleviated. For instance we are looking at art therapy. Our next class is beading, anything we can find to address those needs.”
Located in a community where food security is a daily struggle, the Centre featured a talk by Michelle Brass, who spoke about how increasing traditional foods into our diets can improve health and wellbeing.
“The best thing is to be able to bring free classes and access to this great education provided by indigenous people from our own communities who designed them with our clients in mind. We deal with some of the most vulnerable people and we are happy to provide as much advocacy and support as we can,” Cottin said.