Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Mental Wellness Team

The Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Mental Wellness Team provides holistic wellness services for First Nations persons of all ages in each of the five Unama’ki communities and Paqtnkek (Antigonish Co.). We provide direct services while also working in collaboration with relevant community and provincial organizations to both enhance and facilitate access to existing wellness services.

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Advocacy Case Management/Service Navigation: Our Advocacy Case Managers role is to learn about your specific wellness needs, provide guidance and advocacy around navigating mental wellness services, and to assist you in accessing and utilizing available resources.

Counselling: We will work with you to connect you to a counsellor that will meet your specific needs and preferences. You may be assisted to access approved mental health providers on the Non-Insured Health Benefits list, counsellors already working in your community, or someone employed with our team.

Behavioural Support for Children and Youth: Our Behavioural Support Advisor provides behavioural modification planning and intervention with children and youth ages 5 to 18 and works with families and teachers to implement tools tailored for their specific needs.

Cultural Support/Traditional Healing Service Linkage: Our staff can arrange one-on-one or group sessions with Traditional Healers/Cultural Experts to aid clients in their healing journey and provide resources for development and strengthening of their cultural identity. We also work with community groups and organizations to plan and facilitate cultural events and activities- contact us for additional details on how we can support you in this process.

Indian Day School Supports: We offer administrative, cultural, and emotional support for Indian Day School survivors and their families. This includes assistance with completion of the claim form for the IDS settlement, counselling support for those completing their narrative, and other health and cultural supports that support holistic wellness.

Youth Physical Wellness Project: One of our current projects is aimed at enhancing youth physical wellness. Our staff work with community organizations and service providers, as well as provincial partners, to increase opportunities for youth physical wellness directly in communities by building partnerships, acquiring funding, facilitation, and advocacy.

Programs and Workshops: We offer several standalone workshops and multi-session programs, details about which can be found under the similarly labelled blue buttons above. We also offer specially designed professional development services for educators and health and wellness service providers. Please contact us to discuss these services and to book group sessions.

*If you do not see a program listed here that meets your needs, please contact us. We may be able to offer you a program tailored specifically for your group, or to help direct you to other resources.

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Empowering Parents to Become Advocates for Their Children

A workshop for parents to learn what it means to be an advocate for your child, and to introduce simple strategies to empower parents to help ensure the needs of their child are met in any environment (i.e. school, doctor’s office, etc.).

Coping with Grief

A workshop for adults that explores the impact of grief, on ourselves and others, by addressing common behaviours, coping strategies, and tips for improving the wellness of yourself and your loved ones.

Compassion Fatigue for Helping Professionals

A workshop for professional caregivers (i.e. home-care, nurses, child and youth workers, crisis intervention, etc.) that addresses how the stress related to these types of jobs can erode a person's ability to function properly, how to recognize compassion fatigue and burnout, and tools and strategies for improved wellness and an effective work-life balance.

Suicide Prevention

This is a workshop for either youth or adults that address signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation, provides guidance on how to recognize and support others in crisis, and discussed how to take care of yourself when experiencing grief and other powerful emotions.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships

In this workshop we discuss the elements of unhealthy relationships and various types of abuse, and then contrast this with the elements of a healthy relationship. We discuss how to support family and friends who may be experiencing intimate partner violence and where you can access resources online and in your community. This workshop can be delivered to youth or adults.

Intergenerational Trauma and Cultural Healing

This workshop is generally delivered as a day-long professional development where we address the impact of intergenerational trauma on community members and how cultural practices can contribute to healing. We discuss a “two-eyed seeing” holistic approach and conclude with a cultural activity such as ceremony, or a hands-on craft, to support your healing journey.  

Options to Anger
A program for either youth or adults composed of seven (7) one-hour weekly sessions. This program aims to distinguish between anger and aggression, while teaching the participant how to recognize their early warning signs, and how to interrupt the anger cycle by making the choice not to respond to triggers.

New Paths
This is an eight (8) session program designed by our team to address intimate partner violence using the Seven Sacred Teachings with emphasis on group discussion, visuals, and teachings from community Elders. This program is for adults 18 and over.




Ayden Pierro

Wellness Support Coordinator

(902) 539-4107 ext. 222

(902) 565-8915


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

Craig Besaw

Advocacy Case Manager / Counsellor

(902) 539-4107 ext. 229

(902) 919-6077


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

Debra Ginnish

Indian Day School Supports Coordinator

(902) 565-8176


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

Richard (Buddy) Young

Cultural Support Advisor

(902) 539-4107 (ext: 219)

(902) 549-0189


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

Chelsea Googoo

Advocacy Case Manager

(902) 539-4107 ext. 217

(782) 777-0095


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

Megan Bowers

Behavioural Support Advisor

(902) 539-4107 (ext: 230)

(902) 549-2098


(902) 564-2137

90 San'tele'sew Awti – Suite 201, Membertou, NS B1S 0A5

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