Connie Jasper, Tŝilhqot’in Health Manager
Connie was born and raised in the Chilcotin by Roy and Gwen Mulvahill, who reside in the very small remote community of Chezacut. Connie attended Alexis Creek Elementary School, boarded in Williams Lake for High School and she furthered her education first through Caribou College and then later through UNBC and TRU in Business. Outside of work, Connie enjoys spending time at home on her ranch and outdoors. In the summer months Connie loves gardening, running and biking and through the winter cross country skiing.
Connie has been working at TNG since 2010 and was hired to help develop the Health Program at the Nation level. TNG applied to First Nations Health Council for HUB (Helping Us Build) funding. At that time the TNG started meeting with all six Health Directors from the communities. Surveys were conducted in the communities which determined where some of the gaps were. As a result the Nation was able to seek funding from Interior Health and First Nations Health Authority to employ staff at the Nation Level to provide services to the communities.
All of the Nation Health Staff listed below are a result of the funding streams that the Nation has been able to apply for. The Health Manager works very closely with FNHA and Interior Health and meet quarterly with other Nation representatives within the Interior Region continuously seeking ways to improve the Health Service that are offered in community and in facilities like Caribou Memorial Hospital. The Health webpage is intended to keep the Nation informed about the Health Services at the Nation level as well as at the community level.
Lorna Elkins, Health Programs Coordinator
Lorna is a Tŝilhqot’in citizen from the Tl’etinqox community. She has been working with Tŝilhqot’in National Government for 3 years as the Health Programs Coordinator. In this role, Lorna assists with organizing workshops or training in communities for the Home Care staff. In addition to this she provides support to the Home Care Staff as well as linking them to the mainstream services for mental health and helps to connect Band members with mental health professionals or services.
June Lulua, Collaborative Health Coordinator
Please welcome our newest team member! June Lulua is our new Collaborative Health Coordinator, a partnership position with Interior Health & TNG Health. June will use her communication and negotiation skills to advocate for Tsilqhot’in people at a high level within the health care system.
June comes to us from Tanakut Consulting, where she led medium to large scale projects as a Community Consultant in Fund Development and Project Management. June has worked exclusively for the Tsilhqot’in Nation and its six communities for the past four years, securing grants to fund programs in housing, education & training, infrastructure, communications & connectivity, program development and planning. June is trained in communications, negotiations, policy development, and leadership.
June holds a Master of Management Degree with UBC. She also holds an Indigenous Health Administration & Leadership certificate with UBC and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management with UVic. June is currently enrolled in a Masters level certificate in Indigenous Public Health at UBC.
June is Dakelh Dene and was raised in her community of Ulkatcho (Anahim Lake). She has deep roots in the Tsilhqot’in Nation, creating a family and living in Xeni Gwet’in for many years. She is grateful to the T’exelcemc and the Tsilhqot’in for allowing her to live, play and work on their beautiful traditional, ancestral and unceded territories. June lives in Williams Lake with her daughter, two horses and a dog. You can find them on the BC Rodeo trail in the summer months as they compete in the Barrel Racing even in rodeo. In the winter, they enjoy downhill skiing on the local hills and snowmobiling in the back country.
Ellen Williams, TNG Team Lead Mental Health
Ellen is first and foremost a mother of 2 children and 2 doggies. Ellen grew up in a small town called Tahsis BC, where she learnt the joys and challenges of residing in a rural area. Ellen completed her education in Victoria and Vancouver and graduated with a Masters in Educational Counselling Psychology at UBC. She have spent the last decade working as a counsellor in many different settings and had the honor and privilege of working in the Tŝilhqot’in as a community counsellor for close to three years. This was a pivotal point for Ellen in her career as a counsellor, since she learnt the value and importance of approaching counselling in a way that involves community and family systems. As well, she was able to connect with and grew to love a nation of people with incredible strength, resiliency and culture. Although she currently lives in Vernon BC, she is continuing to work with the Tŝilhqot’in Nation as a Mental Health Team lead for the Tŝilhqot’in National Government (TNG). In this role, she advocates for and implements mental health service in 6 of the surrounding First Nation communities. She also works in a supervisory role for a wonderful team of clinical counsellors that are not only highly qualified and well trained in treating trauma, but are committed and full heartedly connected and devoted to the clients they serve. Ellen looks forward to continuing her work with the Tŝilhqot’in people and is grateful to be a part of this team again.
Brittany Handel – Registered Nurse
Brittany is Metis (registered with the Cariboo Chilcotin Metis Association in Williams Lake) and was born and raised in Quesnel with family ties to Yuneŝit’in. She moved to Kamloops as a young adult for schooling opportunities, but her roots are with the Cariboo, so she moved back to Williams Lake in 2021 to raise her family.
Brittany completed her nursing education in Kamloops in 2012 and has been fortunate to work in various clinical settings. Starting her career in urban centers, she was able to build and develop her nursing skills with quick access to available resources. However, when she had the opportunity to work and live in areas of Northern Alberta and BC, it sparked her passion for rural and remote nursing. Living and working in remote areas gave her an appreciation for the challenges people face regarding the social determinants of health, which has led her to the work she does now. She has been with TNG Health since August of 2021. She is passionate about advocating for health services needed in the community, building capacity, and fostering relations with partnerships to achieve high levels of health equity. She hopes to harmonize modern medicine with traditional practices to reach each person’s own vision of what health means to them. She is currently pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration through Athabasca University with the intention to ladder into a Master’s Degree in Health Studies.
Outside of work, Brittany enjoys reno’ing her home so that she can host her friends and family now that she lives closer to them. Pre covid times, Brittany loved to travel internationally- but is now making the most of exploring areas more local that many others travel far to come to see. She loves finding new places to eat but is no stranger to mastering a recipe in her own home.
Shona Myers, License Practical Nurse (LPN)
Shona Myers was born and raised in the Chilcotin, who was raised by Dorothy Myers and the late Isaac Myers in the community of Stone that is also known as Yunesit’in Government. Shona is married and is a mother of five children. Outside of work Shona enjoys watching her children play sports, loves the outdoors, camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and traveling.
Shona has started working as a License Practical Nurse for Tsilhqot’in National Government as of September 2022, Shona has just graduated the Practical Nursing program through Thompson Rivers University as of July 2022. In this role Shona will be working within the six Chilcotin communities to provide support to all the Care aids that are working in these communities, and to assist the TNG’s health care team in wherever is needed.
Keanna Saunders – Reception
Keanna was born in Surrey BC and raised in the Cariboo by her grandparents.
Being raised in Williams Lake she has a love for the outdoors and new adventures. She enjoys playing sports and being active, before she graduated she swam competitively for 12 years. Her plan for the future is to work with kids and hopes to study early childhood education.
Keanna graduated in June 2021 and began working with TNG early February 2022.She is grateful for the opportunity and she always enjoys community visits and socializing with the new people she meets. With little knowledge of her aboriginal background she is honored and always takes the opportunity to learn from those around her.
If you call or stop by the office she is happy to help you with anything you need.
Mental Health Clinicians
Sandra Suasnabar Alberco, RTC – Mental Health Clinician (zoom only) Tl’etinqox
Sandra is a Certified Expressive Arts Therapist and a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor with experience facilitating individual and group work addressing trauma & intergenerational trauma, sexual assault, depression, identity, grief & loss, anxiety, substance use, life transitions, relationship challenges and wellness. Sandra is committed to offering a safe, nourishing, compassionate and creative space for healing. Most importantly, Sandra strives to support clients to recognize their own resilience and determine the route of their own healing journey. Sandra is an Indigenous Andean descendent from Peru and migrated to the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations 15 years ago. She has over a decade of experience supporting community members of all ages through non-profit, social justice, anti-violence, harm- reduction, community and educational settings in Vancouver, BC. In the last years, Sandra has been living and working in rural communities in the Northwest Territories.
Cherrie Carr, Mental Health Clinician (Tŝideldel)
Cherrie Carr is honored to have been offered an opportunity to be the Mental Health Clinician in Tŝi Deldel. At this time, Cherie is in the community at the Health Center most Fridays. She has been going to Tsi Del Del since September 2019, and appreciates that she has been invited to the Tŝilhqot’in Territory to offer support to the community! Cherrie was born in Williams Lake, and spent the first ten years of her life in Big Creek before her family relocated to Riske Creek, then Soda Creek where she spent the rest of her childhood. Cherrie moved to Kamloops, BC in 1992, and spent the next ten years living in Kamloops and Kelowna while attending University. After finishing university, Cherrie realized that home truly is where the heart is and returned to the Cariboo-Chilcotin to raise her family. In 2010, Cherrie received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Dalhousie University and began specializing in the areas of attachment and trauma-informed practice. Over the years Cherrie have had the great privilege of working alongside First Nations people in a number of capacities ranging from providing support in a wellness center environment to helping develop trauma-informed counselling and healing programs and providing clinical supervision and consultation, to working with people in individual and group counselling settings. She have learnt a great deal from the people who have shared their personal journeys with her, and is humbled by the incredible perseverance, strength and resilience that she has been shown by so many and in so many ways. Cherrie feels it is a great privilege to be invited to spend time in Tŝi Deldel, looks forward to working with the community!
George Warr: Mental Health Clinician Yuneŝit’in
My name is George Warr. I am originally from the UK, and I love working, living and playing in the Cariboo Chilcotin.
I have a passion for helping people learn to manage life’s challenges and live healthier and happier lives.
I am trained in Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma where trauma is approached through a collective inter-generational Indigenous lens and from a client centered connection From a First Nation perspective, I really enjoyed working for the Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council as a counsellor with Ulkatcho First Nation. In this role I worked closely with the Elders and Youth, I was to be able to support several land-based hikes and healing programs on their territories.
I have enjoyed living in Williams Lake for the past 13 years and my family and I have just finished building a house. In my spare time, I can be found in the gym, messing around with old motorcycles, or exploring the beautiful backcountry.
As a counsellor, the presenting issues that I primarily work with include trauma, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, relationship challenges, domestic violence, substance misuse and addictions. I also have a growing amount of experience working with clients impacted by residential schools. I completed a Masters in Arts in Counselling Psychology, from Yorkville University and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor. I am very flexible in counselling modalities, and I like to incorporate traditional practices and the outdoors. I am happy to work with adults, youth, and groups.
So far, it has been great to connect with Yuneŝit’in community members, help with Men’s Wellness events and provide different mental health support services.
Appointments for counselling can be made through the Yuneŝit’in Health Clinic when I am in community on Wednesdays.
Bettina Egert: Mental Health Clinician Yuneŝit’in and Tl’esqox
Bettina feels honoured having the opportunity to work with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government Health Team and has supported community members at Yuneŝit’in since January 2022 and at Tl’esqox since May of 2022. She offers individual support for children, youth and adults and works with couples and families.
Bettina can meet with you most Wednesdays in Yuneŝit’in and on Thursdays at Tl’esqox, and has availability on other days as well to book you for a meeting in her office in Williams Lake or to talk to you via phone or video call. She is flexible in meeting with you outside of the office, e.g., by going for a walk or finding an alternative space to meet. Feel free to connect with Bettina directly by calling (250-267-1725), texting, e-mailing (email@example.com) or via FB messenger (www.sunoncounselling.com).
Bettina was born and raised in a small rural community in Germany and has been living in the Cariboo Chilcotin for 30 years. She feels privileged to live and work on traditional territory of the Secwepemc and Tŝilhqot’in Nations.
Her passion for working with Indigenous communities was sparked when she first came to Canada, by partnering with the Xatśūll Nation in developing the Xatśūll Heritage Village. Experiencing First Nations culture and traditions, by working together with Indigenous people in community, have influenced her life in Canada significantly. Bettina is looking forward to continuing her learning about local Indigenous wisdom by supporting Tŝilhqot’in community members in their healing journey.
Bettina is a professional counsellor and completed a Master of Arts degree through Antioch University, with a concentration in Integrative Therapy. She has over 25 years of experience in the mental health field.
In her work with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Nenqayni Wellness Center and Xatśūll First Nation, she has supported numerous families, couples and individuals of all ages and from various cultural backgrounds. She helped them develop a better understanding of themselves and to create effective tools to deal with a wide variety of concerns, including trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, relationship issues and behavioural matters.
Holistic therapy approaches and combining cognitive based methods with body-based exercises, such as visualizations, movement, breath, arts-based, and land-based practices have become her speciality. She learned that healing trauma requires paying attention to all parts of self by integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual domains. Bettina offers a safe space, honouring each person as a unique individual, with their own personal experiences, strengths and needs. She believes that you are the expert for yourself, and that the solutions to your situation are to be found within yourself.
Gisele Duquette: Mental Health Clinician Tŝideldel
Hello to everyone! I am currently living in Vernon, BC. Williams lake is my hometown and I’m looking forward to returning to the area to be closer to my parents. I’m of Metis and French-Canadian ancestry. I have a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and I have been a Social Worker for over 20 years. Over the years, I have worked with children, youth, as well as adults in various professional roles and responsibilities. I have experience in providing: Self-Regulation Therapy (SRT); Aboriginal Focused Orientated therapy; Counselling; employment counselling; and case management for people with disabilities. I have also travelled widely, including a two-year adventure to the Middle East as a high school counsellor.
I will be in Tŝideldel the first week of every month to work with children, youth, and adults and I’m available by zoom on other days through out the month.
I can help with a wide variety of concerns and symptoms including: concussions, Sleep/Insomnia, Anger Management, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), Hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) Photophobia (sensitivity to light), chronic pain, car accidents, falls, difficulty concentrating, relationships issues, grief and loss, stress, anxiety, depression and more.
Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment even to just say hi! I can be reached by calling Tŝideldel Health department or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ciaran McDonagh: Mental Health Clinician Xeni and ʔEsdilagh
My name is Ciarán (little dark-haired one)”(pronounced Kieran), Mac Dhonnchadha (son of Donagh) Mc Donagh and I am a new father to Oscar. I grew up in Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland. I am well-travelled and experienced Canada for the first time in 2001. I spent a year in Toronto Canada where I gained work experience in supporting persons living on the street. Back in Ireland I graduated with a Master in Psychotherapy. I have spent the past 18 years in a wide variety of counselling settings and working in drug treatment. I immigrated to Vernon BC Canada in 2018 from Dublin, Ireland. I gained some very valuable skills and experiences working on reserve in the Okanagan for 2 years. I approach counselling in a way that involves community and family systems. Although I currently live in Lumby BC, I am working in community. I’m a registered clinical counsellor through FNHA. It is a great pleasure and honour to connect with you. I will be in the community ever two weeks for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) at ʔEsdilagh Health Center and two days per month (Mondys) at Xeni Gwet’in . I offer in person support or tele-health (video or phone) counselling for community members in living in the community and/or living away.
My hobbies are anything to do with being on the land and on the water. I love to fish, hunt and scuba dive. My more recently learned how to trap and tan hides. Please contact the your band office for more information so we can connect.
Tyler has worked as a Physiotherapist in the Tŝilhqot’in communities since early 2014, initially at the TŝI Del Del Health Centre, then including Tl’esqox and ʔEsdilagh with visits at regular intervals, every two to four weeks. Members living in Williams Lake also have access to community Physiotherapy every two weeks.
Tyler provides treatment based in Manual Therapy for mobilization and stretching, Acupuncture for pain control and Therapeutic Exercises to maintain high levels of function while building physical resiliency.
Tyler has taken special interest in assessment and treatment of Concussion and other Traumatic Brain Injury, completing extra training through Complete Concussion Management. Working closely with organizations to provide baseline testing for athletes and workers at high risk for concussion, we have been able to promote physical activity without the long term risks of repetitive concussions. He is happy to meet any new community members who would like to speak about their physical wellbeing, in managing old injuries or preventing chronic disease.