The NAN Hope Wellness Navigators are the primary contact for NAN members who reach out by phone, text, live chat, or Facebook. Wellness Navigators provide navigation to existing community-based and regional support services and connect members to confidential counselling support.
Ruth has a 15-year career in education as guidance counsellor and resource/alternative education teacher and has worked and lived in First Nation communities across Canada, most notably in Kashechewan First Nation on the James Bay Coast. She has extensive experience working with youth and communities, has participated in learning opportunities in areas of holistic wellness, experiential/outdoor education, Indigenous history & culture and traditional healing, and has completed training in a variety of courses including Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and suicide prevention. She works in partnership with all clients with a holistic, trauma-informed and person-centred care approach.
Annie grew up in Southwestern Ontario surrounded by a number of First Nations communities (Bkejwanong, Eelünaapéewi Lahkéewiit, and Aamjiwnaang) and was grateful to learn from and share many experiences with members of these communities. Annie has spent years working in suicide intervention and prevention, rapid access crisis counselling, and with clients with dual diagnoses. Most recently, she worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside providing support with housing, harm reduction, employment, and transitioning into community from the corrections system. Annie works out of a holistic, trauma informed, humanistic framework, and her professional interests include intergenerational trauma, crisis, and addiction. Annie is not the only member of her family interested in mental health care – her golden retriever, Memphis, is a trained psychiatric support dog.
Val began her career in the social field working in a day care center after graduating from George Brown College in early childhood education. Later she worked in child welfare, in a women’s crisis shelter and as a social service administrator managing a wide range of community services. She broadened her interest by working at the Chiefs of Ontario as the senior social policy analyst before moving back home to become Chief of her community for three terms. She found herself working for the Anishinabek Nation as Director of Social Development, and later as a political advisor to the Grand Chief. Valerie has also worked as the Health Director in her community and most recently as the comptroller for her community trust before taking on the role of Jordan’s Principle Navigator. Val loves working with people, and is able to draw on her skills and experiences as a certified life skills coach and from her Indigenous knowledge and trauma informed care training to provide a wide range of support to individuals, families and communities towards a valued lifestyle in whichever manner a person chooses.
Madison’s spirit name is Waabi Anung/White Star; Madison is Metis and from the Eagle Clan. Madison grew up in a small town in Northwestern Ontario and calls Thunder Bay her home. Madison recently graduated from Laurentian University with an Honours Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work. Madison is continuing her educational journey and pursuing her Master of Social Work designation also in the Indigenous Field of Study. Madison is excited to walk along this helping journey and support people through their healing process.
Angus studied Addictions Counselling and Social Work at McMaster University. He is a Registered Social Worker in private practice who also does mental health and addiction work as well as some coordination of services in Kashechewan First Nation on the James Bay Coast. He has been working in the field of mental health and addictions for over 18 years in both direct service and management roles in treatment, prevention, harm reduction, crisis and case management. He uses a strengths based, solution focued approach to helping with aspects of CBT and DBT. He is a big believer in mindfulness and the mind-body connection and recently completed a trauma-based yoga teacher training. He is also a certified ASIST Suicide Intervention trainer.
Nancy practices counselling and psychotherapy in Lancaster, Ontario and serves Cornwall, the SDG counties and western Quebec. She is registered in Ontario and enjoys providing services online. Nancy has a Master of Social Work degree (MSW), is Registered Social Worker (RSW), is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW) and the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). Nancy has over 25 years’ experience in the human services field and boasts a varied background. She has spent 15 years working and living in Canada’s Artic where she feels she learnt a lot about life and being resilient. Nancy spent most of those years helping small communities cope with trauma and grief, often acting as a front-line responder as well as follow up clinical care.
Meghan has an Honours BA in Sociology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Career and Work Counselling. She has 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector as an Employment Counsellor where she provided long-term employment support to clients with various disabilities, including mental health challenges. This is where she developed a passion for helping vulnerable populations, including at-risk youth and social assistance recipients, get connected with appropriate supports. She has experience with mental health, resource referrals, crisis de-escalation, and a deep understanding of the impact of social barriers on individuals. Some of the certifications Meghan has completed include SAFE Talk Suicide Prevention Training and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training.
Chris obtained a Masters of Social Work from Ryerson University in 2017 and has been in the field for 9 years. Chris has worked in a variety of settings including; homeless shelters, harm reduction programs, addiction treatment facilities, court support, housing, and employment. Chris currently provides program coordination in Dalton Associates Indigenous Services division in northern Ontario.