Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program
This page discusses topics that may be distressing and awaken memories of past traumatic experiences and abuse.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides 24-hour crisis support to former Indian Residential School students and their families toll-free at 1-866-925-4419.
Individuals impacted by the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are encouraged to contact the MMIWG Crisis Line toll-free at 1-844-413-6649.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis seeking immediate emotional support can contact the Hope for Wellness Help Line toll-free at 1-855-242-3310, or by online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
On this page
About the program
The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program was established as part of the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. It provides cultural and emotional support, and mental health counselling services to Survivors of Indian Residential Schools and the families of former students.
All Survivors of Indian Residential Schools, regardless of Indigenous status or place of residence within Canada, are eligible to receive services from the Resolution Health Support Program.
In recognition of the intergenerational impacts that the Indian Residential School system had on families, Resolution Health Support Program services are also available to family members of former students of Indian Residential Schools.
Family members include:
- spouse or partner
- those raised by, or raised in the household of, an Indian Residential School Survivor
- any relative who has experienced the effects of intergenerational trauma associated with a family member's time at an Indian Residential School
If you are not eligible for the Resolution Health Support Program, you may still be eligible for trauma-informed supports including:
Cultural supports are provided by local Indigenous organizations and include access to Elders, Knowledge Holders, traditional healers, and ceremonies. Cultural supports seek to assist Survivors and their families in safely addressing issues related to Indian Residential Schools. Specific services are chosen by the Survivor or family member and can include traditional healing, ceremonies, teachings and dialogue.
Emotional supports include access to Resolution Health Support Workers, community-based workers and Elders who share space, listen, talk, and offer support in a safe and respectful way. Emotional supports are provided by local Indigenous organizations, and are designed to help former students and their families safely address issues related to the impacts of Indian Residential Schools.
Mental health counselling
Mental health counsellors are psychologists and social workers, who are in good standing with their provincial or territorial regulatory body, and registered with Indigenous Services Canada. A counsellor can work with individuals or families and will listen, talk and assist individuals to find ways of navigating trauma and healing journeys related to Indian Residential School experiences.
Assistance with transportation may be offered when mental health counselling and cultural support services are not locally available.
Please contact the Indigenous Services Canada regional office in your province or territory (or, for those in British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)) to access services through the Resolution Health Support Program.
Encountering strong emotional reactions
Thinking about how Indian Residential School affected you can lead to negative or upsetting thoughts or memories.
This pamphlet, Encountering strong emotional reactions, is designed to help you recognize the reactions you may have.
- Forms: Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program (IRS RHSP), Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and Girls (MMIWG) and Federal Indian Day Schools (IDS)
- Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada: Indian Residential Schools
- Assembly of First Nations: Indian Residential Schools Unit
- Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- The MMIWG and 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Action Plan
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