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Indigenous outreach group introduces software to offer mental health support

A person types on a keyboard on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Portland, Ore. AP Photo/Jenny Kane

A new self-guided program developed by Anishnabeg Outreach is aimed at people who are in need of help in dealing with common mental health challenges.

The “AO Nest” software system is billed by the outreach group as being able to help deal with aspects of emotional intelligence, mental health, and essential life skills.

Stephen Jackson, who serves as CEO of the non-profit based in Kitchener and Guelph, appeared on CJOY on Thursday morning.

He said that the idea initially stemmed from looking for a way to help Indigenous people who were struggling but who were unable to get help.

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“We were looking at, how do we help all the Indigenous people in the country with mental health? There aren’t enough therapists. So what we looked at is, how can we do it differently?” Jackson said.

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He said those involved looked at a number of aspects where people might have mental health struggles and began to research them.

“We researched them, teach people about those so they have the background information for things like ADHD or anxiety or grief or even things like relationships or parenting,” Jackson said.

Through the online platform, AO links to courses and thousands of worksheets that people can use to maneuver through a number of life issues on their schedule.

“We created a process, and we created worksheets that really help people develop their own solutions to those problems,” Jackson said.

Jackson said that a number of social service agencies have already partnered with AO to implement the tool.

The program was initially intended for Indigenous people but Jackson believes it can help all.

“Whether they’re a parent and need support with their children, whether they’re having struggles in their relationships, whether they’re having challenges at work, or whether they’re dealing with the older people in their life moving from retirement into hospice — there is really content for all those different age groups to help people through all aspects of their life.”

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