AHS Indigenous support line marks successful first year

Melissa Health Link
Melissa Health Link // photo via AHS

Alberta Health’s Indigenous Support Line continues to receive calls following its successful launch last summer.

AHS introduced a toll-free support line for Indigenous Peoples in the North Zone in 2022, and nearly 600 callers have been provided with assistance since the launch.

Callers have received referrals to support, access to cultural resources, and even answers to medical inquiries.

Through a follow-up survey, respondents said they felt respected and supported by the person who assisted them, and nearly all survey participants said they would use the line again.

“The information shared with me wouldn’t have been available on the Internet. It would have taken more steps. I feel like I would have been more frustrated,” one survey client shared.

Staffed by Indigenous Health Link personnel, callers receive answers to questions and can get help with accessing culturally appropriate care while also providing guidance in navigating the healthcare system.

Clients can call at any point in their healthcare journey with questions or concerns.

“The support line connects individuals with someone who listens with patience, spirituality, acceptance, caring, and empathy,” says Cheryl Sheldon, co-chair of the AHS Wisdom Council.

“Those phone conversations build a deeper understanding of the difficulties Indigenous clients face. It makes a difference; it matters to them, and they feel like they matter to AHS.”

The toll-free Indigenous Support Line is available by calling 1-844-944-4744 and is open on weekdays from noon to 8 p.m.

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