UBC Counselling Services acknowledges with deep respect that the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm land we work on at UBC is the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. We also recognize with gratitude the knowledge systems, ceremonies, and healing traditions of the Musqueam Nation, and other Indigenous people, the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.
Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing program
About the program
Counselling services is committed to a process of Indigenizing and decolonizing mental health services at UBC. Our work in the Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing (IMHW) program strives to be respectful of wisdom traditions practiced across our nations and within the individual experiences of Indigenous UBC students.
We offer many support options to Indigenous UBC students with a focus on helping to identify wellbeing goals encouraging their academic success.
What the program offers
- Free and confidential drop-in and brief counselling services
- Planning sessions to help you meet difficult challenges while attending UBC, including how to locate a doctor or find community resources like a daycare
- Mentoring from professional staff
- Connections with community resources that encourage wellbeing
- Facilitation and support of cultural work
How to access the service
Students who self-declare as Indigenous, meaning First Nations (Status/Non-Status), Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous relations from around the world, are welcome to participate in program services.
Indigenous self-identification is voluntary, confidential, and used only to provide you with the relevant services that meet your needs.
- Drop-in appointments
Drop-in appointments are available at both the Brock Hall Counselling Services location and the First Nations Longhouse. Please let the front desk staff know you are an Indigenous student booking an appointment and would like IMHW support. You can call 604.822.3811 for hours and details.
- Connect with the IMHW Team
Submit the online form to get in touch with program staff, who can help you plan your next steps in navigating support options or connect you to self-directed resources, such as group and individual counselling, cultural events, medical treatment, and other campus or community resources.
- FNHL Longhouse Student Lunches
IMHW staff members are available at the Longhouse “Indigenous Student Lunches” (September to April) on Tuesdays during 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.
If you are a UBC staff member requiring a referral form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call UBC Counselling Services at 604.822.3811 and ask to speak with an Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing program staff member.
We ground our work within the Mi’kmaq principles of Etuaptmumk or “Two-Eyed Seeing” as shared by Elder Albert Marshall. This means that we respectfully support both the use of traditional holistic practices, or Indigenous science and knowledge, as well as conventional therapeutic Western counselling techniques.
Indigenous Cultural Safety
We are committed to offering culturally safe mental health and support services basing our work on foundational healing values which include cultural humility, a person-centered approach, trauma-informed healing work, and continued dedication to improving our services with a lens of self-reflection.
Our work is also informed by the following:
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (pdf)
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action
- In Plain Sight(pdf)
- The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Psychology’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report
- UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan
Meet the program staff
Associate Director IMHW, UBC Counselling Services
Renée Avitan, MSW, RCSW (she/her/hers)
Welcome to the IMHW team and program. I am Renée Avitan and I am Shúhtaǫt’ine, Tulit’a Dene Band, and mixed settler heritage. I am very grateful to have been an uninvited visitor on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory at UBC for many years. In my work, I value Indigenous based practices and wisdom traditions that are person-centered and holistic. I look forward to talking with you and continuing to help improve mental health and support services for Indigenous students at UBC.
Kim Bayer, MA, MEd, RCC, Métis (she/her/hers)
As a lifelong learner, I offer the gifts, teachings, professional training, and wisdom I have gathered to Indigenous students. Together we can draw from holistic Indigenous ways, being, and knowing, as well as Western therapeutic tools to create a wellness plan that meets your current needs.
Looking forward to sharing the counselling space with you.
Social Work Wellbeing Navigator
Hali McLennan, MSW, RSW (she/her/hers)
I am a member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia. I was born in the Yukon but as a child moved to the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. I completed both of my Social Work degrees at UBC’s School of Social Work and I am grateful to have the chance to support current UBC students through the challenges they may face while at the university.
Additional Indigenous support and crisis resources
- Hope for Wellness Help Line
Get immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention by phone (toll-free 1.855.242.3310) or online chat.
- Indian Residential School Crisis Line
Call toll-free 1.866.925.4419 for 24/7 emotional support available to former Indian residential school students and their families.
- Kuu-us Crisis Line Society
Get crisis support in British Columbia by calling toll-free 1.800.588.8717.
- Métis Crisis Line
Call 1.833.638.4722 for immediate help if you are experiencing a crisis, or get help with relationship troubles, depression, anxiety, financial issues, bullying, and more.
If you have questions
Please call 604.822.3811 and request to speak to an IMHW program staff member.