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CHIGAMIK continues offering support and care during crisis

Many programs and services will be moving to virtual formats, including one-on-one mental health counselling.
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Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre (CSC CHIGAMIK CHC) continues to offer social and community supports and primary health care to clients and members of the community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the CHC had to postpone in-person health promotion and community programming, many CHIGAMIK programs and services will be moving to virtual formats, including one-on-one mental health counselling, Traditional Healing sessions and community programs. Other online offerings will include mindfulness sessions, Mama Tribe support group for new moms and babies, Choose to Move exercise sessions and Ojibwe language classes. The Centre will also be offering virtual “walk-in” mental health counselling, open and free to the community.

“COVID-19 has made it clear how much we all depend on each other for our health and wellbeing. Social and community supports are essential in times of physical distancing, self-isolation and quarantines,” says David Jeffery, Executive Director, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC. “At Chigamik, our clinicians, system navigator, health promoters, and other staff are making regular social check-in calls to clients at high risk of becoming isolated and referring them to supports offered by the centre or through local partners. This includes seniors who are at risk of feeling isolated, people who live alone, vulnerable families, people with mental health issues and those with complex health conditions.”

Food insecurity is also a major issue that CHIGAMIK continues to address through the Market Greens program, in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada. The Market Greens program was developed to ensure low income families with children under the age of twelve have access to fresh food.

“Measures to contain COVID-19 are affecting low income populations the most and potentially making food insecurities worse,” says Jeffery. “Although our Miijim Food Market has been postponed during the COVID-19 outbreak, our staff continues to support access to healthy food by distributing fresh fruits and vegetables each week to our clients registered in the Market Greens program. We’re also checking in on our clients who are dealing with food accessibility issues to make sure they have the resources to access healthy food, especially if they are in isolation.”

Primary Health Care Supports
Appointments with CHIGAMIK doctors and nurse practitioners continue to be scheduled as usual but are being triaged to determine if the appointment can be handled over the phone, using video technology, or face-to-face. This is especially important to ensure people with complex conditions continue to receive care for chronic conditions – especially those which are risk factors for severe complications of COVID-19, such as diabetes, heart disease, immunocompromising conditions, and lung health conditions.

“Our goal is to keep our clients out of the hospital,” said Glen Chenard, Clinical Manager, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC. “We’re using the Ontario Telemedicine Network, video-conferencing and phone appointments for most of our visits including acute conditions, medications and management of chronic conditions.”

CSC CHIGAMIK CHC will be offering online programs and services, including virtual “walk-in” mental health counselling beginning Monday, April 6. For more information please visit