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Wellness and cultural support

Wellness Support

Indigenous students in search of wellness support can connect with a Student Support Advisor to access coordinated care. This method of wellness support provides a primary advisor that students can work with, including productive goal setting, practical problem solving and planning, regularly scheduled supportive check-ins, access to cultural wellness supports, assistance with resource navigation and referral to campus and community resources.

Mackenzie Beaupre, your Indigenous Student Support Advisor

Mackenzie Beaupre, your Indigenous Student Support Advisor

Biography: Hi folks! My name is Mackenzie Beaupre, Indigenous Student Support Advisor with the Student Wellness Services and the Writing Symbols Lodge. I am a Registered Social Worker and have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

I am Two-spirit, Indigiqueer and use they/them pronouns. I was born in Moh’kins’tsis and lived in Nova Scotia for seven years, before moving back here. My nation is located at the mouth of the Conne River of Newfoundland. I am Mi’kmaq, French and Irish. Unfortunately, I did not grow up learning much about my Indigenous culture and continue to learn about my culture to this day. I am planning a trip to visit my nation for the first time and cannot wait for that day to come.

As a queer Indigenous person, I am passionate about working with Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ communities in my social work practice. I aim to work from a strength-based, trauma-informed, and non-judgmental lens. I want to embrace Indigenous ways of knowing and always use an intersectional lens.

When considering our own social location/context, we can see how these factors impact who we are and how we experience the world. I am so excited to help support Indigenous students through their university experience. I look forward to supporting you through this journey.

Reach out to Mackenzie Beaupre to get started on your wellness support:

  • accessing and locating resources on and off-campus
  • Setting up goals
  • Providing coordinated care

If you are looking for wellness support, please connect with Mackenzie through email at mackenzie.beaupre@ucalgary.ca.

Counselling Services

Indigenous students searching for counselling can connect with a Student Wellness Services counsellor located in Writing Symbols Lodge. Students accessing this support can access one-at-a-time counselling with the option to utilize brief individual counselling services if necessary.

Alyjah Ermine Neil, your Indigenous Counsellor

Alyjah Ermine Neil, your Indigenous Counsellor

Alyjah Ermine Neil is the current Indigenous counsellor. They are a Registered Social Worker with a Master of Clinical Social Work from the University of Calgary. Alyjah believes in trauma-informed, collaborative, holistic approaches to wellness that incorporate cultural practices.

Biography: Tansi, Hello! My name is Alyjah Ermine Neil, and I am an Indigiqueer and Two-spirit human. I am Cree-Métis. My father was Cree from Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan, and my mother is Métis, French, and Scottish from southern Alberta. Due to colonization, much of my connections to my Métis, French and Scottish family have been lost at this time. I have spent the last several years finding my Cree family members, connecting to them, and learning how to practice my culture in a good way. I was born and raised in Moh'kins'tsis, Treaty 7 Territory, where I still reside with my family.

I believe in trauma-informed, collaborative, holistic approaches to wellness that incorporate cultural practices. As someone who has been colonized and disconnected, I realize the intensity the journey of cultural reconnection can hold. I believe in the power of story; I do not have a right to your stories, but through relationship, I hope we can find space to hold your stories as you need. Being a Two-spirit person influences my work sincerely. As someone who has been asked to walk both worlds, I am humbled and take this responsibility seriously. I am passionate about working with Indigenous and Indigiqueer students to find a way to navigate the institutions and succeed in academia in a good way.

If you are looking for counselling support, please contact Alyjah through email at alyjah.neil@ucalgary.ca.

Cultural and Spiritual Advising

Writing Symbols Lodge provides opportunities for Indigenous students to seek one-on-one and personal support through culturally-based community experts. Writing Symbols Lodge works with a cultural advisor and a culturally-based integrative therapist/social worker.

Elder Kerrie Moore is available to meet with students one Tuesday per month. Students can book one-hour appointments by emailing writingsymbolslodge@ucalgary.ca or directly emailing Kerrie at kerrie.moore@shaw.ca.

Helpful links

Student Wellness Services

Book services or make an appointment »

Self-help resources »

Wellness events


More Indigenous wellness resources

Alberta Indigenous Virtual Care Clinic | An accessible, culturally safe and medically appropriate care to any self-identifying Indigenous persons and their families in Alberta. You can also call them at 1-888-342-4822.

Well for Culture | A grassroots initiative to focus on the revitalization of Indigenous Health and Wellness utilizing the seven circles of wellness.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta | Created for Indigenous people, by Indigenous people, it offers resources for family, health, education, housing, and judicial support.

Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 Office | Offers programming for family, health, and youth services for members of the Metis Nation of Alberta.

Sleep Foundation | An in-depth look at how a bedroom setting influences quality of sleep. The sleep foundation also provides other articles related to sleep such as “depression and sleep” and “night terrors”.

Healing Bones Lodge | An Indigenous healing lodge in Calgary, centered on Indigenous healing and spiritual practices.

We Matter's Two-Spirit Dictionary | Provides a collection of definitions celebrating two-spirit diversity and expression

Four Directions Teachings | An audio narrated resource for learning about Indigenous knowledge and philosophy from five diverse First Nations in Canada

Calgary Public Library Indigenous Resources Centre | Treaty 7 Language mobile apps to assist in learning the language Michif, Blackfoot, Dene, Stoney Nakota

“Why are territorial acknowledgments important?” Blackfoot Elder Reg Crowshoe explains why it is important to give land acknowledgments.

Métis Voices | A collection of seven short digital stories introduces viewers to a selection of Métis stories as told through a variety of community perspectives, including intergenerational telling’s which are unique to these stories. 

The Blackfoot App | Siksika (Blackfoot) phrases organized under 29 theme categories complete with audio, images, quizzes, and games. Can be purchased through android or apple store for $9.99 CAD.

Indigenous Mindfulness | Neurodecolonization and mindfulness practises through an indigenous lens by Dr. Michael Yellow Bird.

Métis Nation of Alberta Wellness Program provides members of the Métis Nation of Alberta with access for all ages to 12 hours of mental health support. This is a free program.

Wellness Diary Template created by First Nations Health Authority, to assist in developing an accountable wellness/holistic self-care plan.

Braiding the Sweetgrass supports families in Calgary to help prevent intergenerational trauma. Families are guided on a healing journey through a mix of traditional Indigenous and western ways of knowing.  

Self-Care Tool Kit for University Students A toolkit designed to help students understand why self-care is important, identify their own self-care habits, and develop a plan to maintain their self-care.

Learning to Ride the Emotional Waves A self-help resource for anyone struggling with mental illness, written by someone with a mental illness.

Head to Health a search engine for digital mental health resources. It finds resources based on how you feel, topics you want to explore, conditions you have, etc.

Atlas of Emotions | An interactive tool that assists you in widening your vocabulary of emotions, the goal is to gain greater control over acknowledging what triggers you and how you respond, this allows you to identify what you're feeling and why.

Diamond Willow Youth Lodge | A welcoming place for youth between the ages of 12 - 29 to drop-in or participate in a variety of programs and activities that combine cultural learning and self-discovery. A new calendar of activities can be found on their website. For example, they host Elder hours for Indigenous cultural awareness teachings.

Indigenous Student Circle | The University of Calgary's Indigenous Students' Circle Facebook page. An all-inclusive club that serves First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students through peer, cultural, and community support.

Self-Compassion | Dr. Kristin Neff’s guided meditations and exercises to help others practise self-compassion.

  1. Calgary region

    The Distress Centre | a Calgary-based organization that provides crisis counselling, mental health support and resources, all free of charge.  

    • Online chat (3–10 p.m. weekdays, noon–10 p.m. weekends) | Phone available 24/7 at 403.266.4357 

    Wood’s Homes Community Support Team | Connects families and individual youths to mental health resources and professional counselling services, as well as access to treatment. 

    Awo Taan-Women’s Emergency Shelter | Full-service emergency shelter that provides services to women and children for protection against family violence and abuse. Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are on-site and on-call counselors 24 hours a day.

    • Call 403.531.1972 or 403.531.1976

    Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre | Offers primary care services and specialist services. This includes traditional healing approaches, health promotion, disease prevention, curative care, rehabilitative care, and social resource advocacy (supportive care).

    Métis Nation of Alberta Wellness Program | Provides members of the Métis Nation of Alberta with access to 24 hours of mental health support. This is a free program.

     

  2. National

    Hope for Wellness has experienced and culturally competent counsellors to help if you’re feeling distressed, triggered, having a strong emotional reaction or simply want to talk. 

    • 1.855.242.3310 | Phone and chat counselling is available 24/7 in English and French. On request, phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut  

    National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former residential school students and their families. It’s also available to anyone raised by or raised in the household of a former residential school student, or any relation who has experienced the effect of intergenerational trauma associated with a family member’s time at a residential school. 

    • 1.866.925.4419 | Emotional and crisis referral services available 24/7