Indigenous Women’s Bridging Program  

Bridges for Women Society

Indigenous Women’s Bridging Program  

This project aims to break the cycle of trauma by supporting Indigenous women to learn, recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships, develop self-knowledge and skills related to their personal growth, and support the development of skills and networks to foster their personal and financial security. It is tailored to recognize and respond to the unique needs, strengths and learning styles of Indigenous peoples, including recognizing the complexities of intergenerational trauma and colonialism and its effects on family and community life. The program delivers group and individual supports that strengthen protective factors for good mental health and enable access to skills, resources, and supportive environments that enhance equity and keep Indigenous women and their families mentally healthy for the long term.

Lead organization: Bridges for Women Society

Supporting Indigenous women to recognize and heal from experiences of trauma

WHO

Indigenous women (transgender and cisgender), non-binary, and two-spirit people who identify as part of the women’s community living in urban areas of Greater Victoria and in the reserve communities of individual nations within the W’SANEC and Lkwungen territories.

WHAT

Objectives

Break the cycle of trauma by supporting Indigenous women to:

  • Learn and recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships;
  • Develop healthy coping and healing tools;
  • Develop knowledge and skills related to their personal growth; and
  • Support the development of skills and networks to foster their personal and financial security.

HOW

Using a trauma-informed, culturally safe, and women-centered approach, this program delivers:

  1. Group Supports – sessions will explore various topics (e.g., overcoming the effects of trauma, boundary-setting, violence prevention, exploring volunteer opportunities), as well as incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural practices (e.g., Elders story-sharing, beading, field trips).
  2. Individual supports — participants will receive one-on-one trauma counselling from a clinical counselor.

WHERE

Settings

  • Community

Implementation sites

  • Victoria, BC; and
  • Reserve communities within the W’SANEC and Lkwungen territories

WHY

Indigenous women experience greater rates of violence, re-victimization to violence, poorer mental health outcomes, and heightened barriers from intergenerational trauma resulting from Residential Schools and effects of colonization.

The impacts of the pandemic – including economic, health, social connection, family violence, and opportunity impacts – have been disproportionately felt by Indigenous women already contending with the challenges of their trauma histories.

The program aims to address the service gap of safe, culturally appropriate programs for Indigenous women survivors of trauma.


Key protective factors

  • Healthy relationships
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Cultural connectedness and identity
  • Work/Employment
  • Physical safety and security (e.g., violence, discrimination, racism)

Key approaches

  • Trauma-informed
  • Cultural safety

 

 

Public Health Agency of Canada news release