The Okanagan Nation Response Team, Sәx kәnxit әlx “Those Who Help” is a team of community members who have received extensive training in the areas of suicide education, community mobilization, and critical incident response.
ONRT has a Team Lead at the ONA that supports the ONRT members in each community to respond to crisis. In addition the Lead assists communities to develop strategies to prevent youth from engaging in self-harming behaviours. The team is comprised of 14 community members from the member communities trained in responding to community crisis. They receive training at least twice a year to enhance their skills to better serve the communities they respond to.
When is ONRT called in?
ONRT is called in when a crisis occurs in an Okanagan community that affects youth. It can be incidents involving violence, traumatic accidents, completed suicides or suicide attempts.
How do you access support from ONRT?
ONRT initially was set up for community members to directly report to ONRT lead, but due to the high volume of calls that were deemed to not fit the mandate, a community protocol list was developed. The protocol list usually involves Band Chief & Council, Band Manager, Health Director, or Social Worker. Each Band varies so first contact with Health Director is beneficial.
If there is a crisis or trauma in community, the community member contacts the Band office to report to a person who is established as a protocol list person. The protocol list person receives the information and proceeds to make contact with ONRT Lead to discuss level of crisis and if the situation falls under the mandate of Team response.
How does ONRT support community?
The ONRT Team Lead supports the ONRT members in each community to respond to crisis. ONRT members provide education on suicide awareness, depression, self-harm, grief and lateral violence to any of the member communities. As part of educating youth, ONRT also provides prevention training to the R’Native Voice program.
How do you become a part of the team?
Each community has two representatives that are selected by either the health or social department or Chief and Council. Once this occurs the new members are oriented and training is provided by the ONRT Team Lead.
Charlotte Whitehead, ONRT Senior Coordinator