COVID-19 News & Service Updates

COVID-19 News

Service Updates

Nodin Mental Health Services

Nodin Mental Health Services has been providing mental health services all along during this COVID-19 pandemic, either by phone/Ontario Telemedicine Network, or in-person counselling at our main office. All staff are back in the office and below details each of Nodin’s services and how they are supporting clients and communities currently.  Please disregard any previous service updates from Nodin CFI as phone numbers, for example, changed.

Main Reception

Nodin’s main reception continues to operate, connecting callers to services and staff. The number for reception is 807-737-4011 and toll-free number is 1-800-446-7863.

Intake Service

Intake continues to operate and receiving referrals, including self-referrals.  Fax referrals to 807-737-7532 and/or if you have questions or are self-referring please call Linda Chikane-Chapman, Intake Manager, at 807-737-6142.  Referral forms can be found on SLFNHA’s website and/or by calling the Intake Manager.

Outpatient Mental Health Service:

Nodin runs a Sioux Lookout based Outpatient Mental Health Service (OMHS).  This is only a short-term, week-long service for those demonstrating high-risk behaviours causing harm or risk of harm to self/others. A multi-disciplinary team provides intensive counselling, crisis intervention, psychoeducation, safety and discharge planning. The normal practice has been, after receiving referrals, to arrange for individuals to travel from communities to Sioux Lookout to attend OMHS and/or to see individuals of a more critical nature from SLMHC following a Medi-Vac and ER assessment. This has temporarily changed due to the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic:

  1. OMHS is not yet arranging for individuals to travel from communities to Sioux Lookout to attend the service.
  2. OMHS counsellors have been instead connecting with individuals on the pending list to offer intermediate short-term phone/OTN support until we can resume normal practice.
  3. Psychologists and our Expressive Arts Therapist are connecting to clients by phone/OTN.
  4. OMHS are accepting referrals from Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre following a Med-Vac and ER assessment.
  5. In the interim OMHS are also accepting referrals from the Sioux Lookout Northern Clinic if an individual has mental health needs that must be addressed and cannot be put on a waitlist.
  6. Individuals accepted into OMHS from the hospital/northern clinic are seen for counselling at our main office in Sioux Lookout.

If you have any questions regarding new referrals to OMHS please contact our Intake Manager, Linda Chikane-Chapman at 807-737-6142.  If calling about a client you are aware is already attending OMHS, you can call Christine Morellato, Clinical Manager of OMHS, at 807-737-6141.

On-Call Service

Nodin CFI On-Call Workers provide phone monitoring outside regular office hours for a period of seven days:  Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends and statutory holidays. On-Call does not provide one-on-one counselling in-office.  This service is only available to clients currently attending Nodin’s Outpatient Mental Health Service and communities who call to arrange support following a community tragedy/crisis.

If new referrals are received outside regular office hours or on weekends and statutory holidays, it is important for referral sources to know that it is extremely challenging for on-call to locate individuals of high acuity after-hours or on weekends, often contact does not happen.  Nodin does not provide one-on-one counselling face-to-face after hours and/or on weekends/stats. 

For this reason, we ask that high acuity individuals remain in-patient and monitored by the referral source, not discharged to Nodin unless they are thoroughly assessed as safe to be received for outpatient support and they have a safety plan in place.  Due to the high demand required of our on-call service to respond to community tragedies and support offered to our Outpatient Mental Health clients, we are not equipped with appropriate resources to monitor high risk cases.  Each shift only has one On-Call Supervisor and one On-Call Worker.  If an individual is assessed as safe to be received for outpatient services, Nodin will accept to see these individuals Monday to Friday between 8:30-4:30 pm.   

For More Information call:

After Hours/ Weekends and Holidays:
On-Call Worker (Cell: 807-737-9257)

On-Call Supervisor (Cell: 807-737-9256)

Crisis Response Program:

This program provides crisis intervention and support to immediate families impacted by tragic incidents occurring within their family unit (e.g. suicide, homicide, tragic accidents etc.), and other community members as requested.  Usual practice has been to send volunteer crisis teams and crisis workers to communities upon community request.

Volunteer crisis teams and contractual crisis workers are only being sent to communities if requests come directly from Chief and Council. We have to hear direction from leadership as to their expectations before sending anyone in.  We can also arrange for telephone counselling for those affected by tragedy upon request.  Should communities want to organize community members to be on a volunteer team instead of having volunteer teams coming from neighbouring communities this can be arranged.

Our Crisis Response Program Supervisor and Coordinator can provide the most up-to-date information on how they are responding to community crises/tragedies therefore the preference is for inquiry calls to be directed to only the crisis response program and on-call for the most up to date information.  Response can change very quickly, and they are the only ones who have the most up-to-date information.  The crisis response program works closely with communities and other partners (i.e. Tribal Councils, NAN etc) to ensure a coordinated approach is organized.  Currently through this pandemic, at times Nodin has had to be creative in response due to not having enough crisis workers (e.g. pulling staff from other service areas to help to respond).  Nodin’s Crisis Response Program has been doing everything they can to support communities with the resources available.     

 Day (8:30-4:30 Mon-Fri)

If you have questions or would like to arrange for support after a community tragedy/crisis, please call Vicki Hartnett, Crisis Response Program Supervisor, at 807-738-0653 (cell) during working hours 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday.

 On-Call After Hours, Weekends and Stat Holidays

Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends and statutory holidays.  Contact On-Call Worker at 807-737-9257 (cell) who reports to an On-Call Supervisor.

          Nishnawbe Aski Nation Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic Response Program

          NAN HOPE

          1-844-NAN-HOPE (626-4673)

          (Launched August 10, 2020) ***phone, text, chat***


In response to the identified need to have timely mental health and addiction support available to all NAN community members during this Covid-19 pandemic, NAN in collaboration with Regional Health Authorities, Tribal Councils, and community organizations, the “Mental Health and Addictions Pandemic response Program” called NAN-HOPE was designed and launched August 10, 2020. 

NAN HOPE is a telephone and Virtual Rapid Access Centre that offers 3 services:

  • 24/7 toll free line – 1-844-NAN-HOPE (626-4673) rapid access to confidential crisis services
  • Navigation – connect to on-gong mental health and addiction support services in home communities and existing regional supports
  • Rapid Access to clinical and mental health counselling

Calls, texts and chats are first picked up by Dalton Counsellors (large mental health organization in the south who has experience working with First Nations) and not by Nodin.

In the spirit of collaboration and to enhance support to community members within SLFNHA’s catchment area, Nodin Mental Health Services also developed a team who are on schedule to receive calls transferred by Dalton to our team to provide supportive counselling.  Having Nodin’s team available too, offers a means for individuals to connect with who are familiar with our region and who can support briefly and/or make referrals to Nodin or other partners for longer-term support.  Dalton also will connect individuals to other mental health supports (e.g. Tribal Council Mental Wellness Teams, community mental health workers).

When calls are received through Dalton, they are triaged and type of response ranges.  Dalton has counsellors available immediately to respond to callers who need immediate crisis intervention.  If deescalated and/or someone is calling that is not in a crisis state, calls can be transferred to Nodin’s team, Tribal Council teams, community mental health workers etc.  The goal is to make sure callers have immediate response.  If in an acute nature, Dalton’s team does not transfer to Nodin but deals with the acute situation.

The line is open to callers experiencing a mental health and/or addictions issue who require support.  They do not have to be in an acute crisis.  Services include:  24/7 rapid access support line, 24/7 emergency/crisis support line, triage and live service navigation support, access to on-call counsellors, and on-going case management.  If you have more questions please call the NAN HOPE line.    

Travelling Mental Health Counsellors:

Usual practice has been for Mental Health Counsellors to travel into assigned communities to provide counselling.  Due to the pandemic, travel stopped.  Instead, the counsellors have been providing telephone/OTN counselling.  Some communities have been open to having counsellors travelling in, but this is only if community leadership permits this and covid safety protocols are followed.

Note:  travelling counsellors have case lists made up of individuals who have been referred to Nodin.  If there are individuals who want counsellors to see them in-community and or at this time through OTN and/or telephone, referrals must be sent to our intake service.  NOTE:  please call the intake department to ask if Nodin has a counsellor assigned to a specific community as there are vacancies.  All new referrals can be made by sending a referral by fax to our Nodin Intake department at 807-737-7532.

Youth School Counsellors:

Nodin has four Youth School Counsellors, two who provide counselling on site at Sioux North High School and two who provide counselling for Pelican Falls First Nations High School students.  The counsellors for Sioux North High School are back in the school providing counselling however Pelican Falls First Nations High School is closed, therefore the counsellors are connecting with their clients to provide telephone/OTN counselling.  All new referrals can be made by sending a referral by fax to our Nodin Intake department at 807-737-7532.

Children’s Mental Health and Addictions Workers

Nodin has community-based Children’s Mental Health and Addiction Workers in only some of the communities.  Some positions are vacant.  Communities who currently have these workers include:  Kasabonika, Big Trout Lake, Cat Lake, Aroland, Marten Falls, Fort Hope, Webequie.    Youth can receive telephone mental health services by contacting Intake Manager, Linda Chikane-Chapman, at 807-737-6142 and services will be assigned to the community-based workers.  All new referrals can be made by sending a referral by fax to our Nodin Intake department at 807-737-7532.

 Traditional Healing:

Our Traditional Coordinator, Tom Chisel, and contractual Traditional Healers are not travelling to communities during this pandemic, unless requests come directly from community leadership.  Requests for traditional services should be forwarded to the Traditional Healing Coordinator.   Tom can be reached at 807-738-2556, or emailed at

Mental Health Support to Hostel:

Nodin recognizes how the hostel staff and how visitors in isolation at the hostel require mental health support.  As per request from the hostel, Nodin is providing counselling to any staff at the hostel who require support during this pandemic and also counselling support is available to any hostel visitor who has to isolate in the hostel.  Posters of this service were sent to  the hostel to post.

Crisis Response and Harm Reduction Mobile Outreach Team:

Nodin Mental Health Services has joined a collaborative project administered by Northwestern Health Unit Sioux Lookout. The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), Sioux Lookout Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) and Canadian Mental Health Association, Kenora Branch (CMHA) will be working together on a Crisis Response and Harm Reduction Mobile Outreach Team for Sioux Lookout. Project duration:  2020-2024.     

The Crisis Response and Harm Reduction Mobile Outreach Team is a client-focused program that efficiently connects healthcare professionals with individuals having complex needs who are unable to access or navigate the healthcare system via traditional streams. The goals of the team include collaboration amongst local and regional services providers for timely access to services, enhancing access to primary care, harm reduction and crisis response for those living with substance abuse and mental health issues in Sioux Lookout, and reducing the number of incidents that result in emergency department visits and criminal charges. Outreach allows for the team to meet individuals where they are at and help them access appropriate services. 

The team consists of nurses, 2-Nodin Counsellors, and a physician to increase capacity around crisis response, harm reduction and case management. The project also supports an after-hours call-in/text line managed by Nahnahda-Wee-ee-Waywin that provides 24/7 crisis intervention services to individuals in local and remote communities.

Nodin is in the process of recruitment for the counsellor positions.

COVID-19 Regional Response

Approaches to Community Wellbeing (ACW)’s Public Health Physician, Dr. John Guilfoyle, is coordinating SLFNHA’s COVID-19 Regional Response (CRRT). The Director of Approaches to Community Wellbeing is on that team, coordinating public health operations. Within public health operations we are supporting health promotion, public health tools and checklists to support program delivery and response at the community-level and supporting capacity around case and contact management of COVID-19.

We have been working on health promotion resources around parenting, mental wellbeing, and smoking. And we are working on collecting videos on how people are staying healthy and coping during this time of COVID-19 social/physical distancing. We will be sending up some additional print material this week, including a community wellbeing monitoring system which provides households with different colours of paper to identify their needs.

In addition to health promotion resources, we are also developing tools, checklists, and guidance documents to provide advice on how to respond to COVID-19.


We revised infection prevention and control standards guidelines for assessment centres, quarantine centres, and isolation centres and hope to have them finalized next week. We are also working to finalize a tool on who should use PPE and a frequently asked questions document about COVID-19 testing.

Ongoing preparation is being done for if Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) approves SLFNHA’s request to take on case and contact management of COVID-19.

We are also preparing to visit additional communities to provide support in COVID-19 preparedness.

ACW staff are also working on the Planning Team of the COVID-19 response team supporting planning, surveillance, developing guidelines for how to set up alternate sites, and developing models for potential case numbers

Ongoing ACW Services

Harm Reduction

While responding to COVID-19, ACW is maintaining our essential services. This includes ongoing harm reduction supply distribution (i.e. safe injection kits and naloxone). We are also still providing health promotion resources and have developed some resources specific to COVID-19. We are also supporting program direction and training, although are looking at virtual means to do this. This has included training DOT workers for suboxone programs. As this week is Earth Day, we are promoting how to safely pick up needles.

Roots for Community Wellbeing

We also continue to maintain the immunization repository by entering immunization data and answering calls for information about immunization status.

Preventing Infectious Diseases

We also continue to provide case and contact management support for tuberculosis.

Raising our Children

We continue to engage with youth workers and youth through email and the Anishinabe Youth Network

The majority of Developmental services continue to be delivered virtually through videoconferencing and telephone consultation. This includes services from our pediatric complex care coordinators, transitional aged youth coordinator, adult developmental regional access coordinator and our audiologist as well as our contracted pediatric Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and developmental psychologists. They are all actively engaged with clients and still taking on new referrals that are being sent to our team.

Our staff have physically returned to the office on a rotational basis due to social distancing requirements starting July 6, 2020.

We are moving to support limited face-to-face health services for those who face barriers in utilizing virtual services and can get to our office hopefully by July 20th, 2020.

The Sioux Lookout Area Primary Care Team is continuing to provide health services.  The majority of the services are being supported through the Videoconferencing and Telephone Consultation;  this includes services from our Speech Language Pathologist’s, Kinesiologist’s, Occupational Therapist’s, Physiotherapist’s, Dieticians, Social Workers, Mental Health Specialist’s and Case Managers; who are all actively engaged with clients and still taking on new Referrals that are being sent to our team.

Our Nurse Practitioner’s continue to support clients in both the Northern Appointment Clinic and our Primary Care Team building at 55 Queen Street – this support is either via limited face-to-face services or via Telephone Consultation.

We are currently supporting limited face-to-face health services – mostly to support Tele-Health for the local Sioux Lookout area, including Hudson, Frenchmen’s Head and clients who are staying at the Hostel.  These clients present to the 55 Queen Street location, are screened and then supported for their Telehealth session with our Psychiatrist who is located in Toronto, Ontario.

New Services:

  • In addition to the above mentioned Psychiatry service, we have also partnered with an additional two Psychiatrist’s who are providing one day per week of services to augment the Psychiatry services already provided.
  • Our Registered Practical Nurses are offering Foot Care services for clients from remote/isolated communities who are already in Sioux Lookout for other reasons.
  • Lastly, we just announced that we are now taking referrals for “Tele-Wound Consultation Services”.

The Client Services Department is operating as usual; however, no visitors will be allowed access to the hostels. SLFNHA will be following social distancing guidelines in the hostels, transportation (with a dedicated van for self isolation cases) and food services.

  • A COVID-19 Screening Process upon arrival to the hostels has been implemented.
  • Hand-washing stations are implemented with increased signage for handwashing, sneezing/coughing, and precautions to follow.
  • Gloves and masks are available in all guestrooms.
  • The domestic kitchen is closed with restricted access for infection control. A breakfast menu is being implemented and other food services are delivered to guest rooms.
  • Clients are to report any sudden illnesses related to COVID-19.
  • Security – Zero Tolerance posting has been removed.
  • Client Laundry – Offer transportation to local laundromats and provide clients in isolation laundry services during their stay.


  • Implemented two floors on the west wing for self-isolation (COVID-19 clients).
  • Food delivery for isolated clients.
  • Corridors, connecting link to hospital are closed
  • On the lower level, we have placed prenatal, dialysis and other clients who need to stay close to the hospital.

Physicians services are continuing within the region. Within the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), physicians continue with essential services in the ER, inpatient care, obstetrics, and Day Medicine. All non-essential outpatient appointments located at SLMHC have been discontinued. COVID- 19 pathways have been developed and implemented in the flow of work.

Physicians continue to support all northern communities, through phone and telehealth support. In community services from physicians, continue in consultation with community leadership, nursing, the physician and the SLFNHA Medical Director. Support staff continue to be the link between physicians, nursing stations, allied services, and patients. This is being done both on and off location. Screening processes for physicians, nurses, staff, and essential patient encounters are in place at all locations.

The Northern Clinic is operating as usual, with the following restrictions:

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Escorts are asked to wait outside of the clinic (Social Distancing guidelines)
  • Clients will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 (not to be alarmed all clinics have implemented the screening process to stop the spread of COVID-19)

Clients requiring an appointment/contact with their family physician are asked to call the Northern Clinic, where they will be assessed. They would then be provided with a phone consult appointment, telehealth appointment or potentially on-site appointment with their physician or nurse practitioner.