Introducing Senior Substance Use Counsellor for the Squamish Nation... Heather Andrew!
Heather's roots are grounded in the Tla'amin and Squamish Indigenous territories. Having experienced the effects of residential schools in her own home, Heather felt compelled to make a lasting difference in her community. Not only has she dedicated her career to Indigenous well-being, but she has also dedicated her livelihood to it as well.
Heather's Community Impact:
Heather brings a spiritual and traditional approach to coping with substance misuse. She draws on a variety of traditional healing methods such as brushing off, traditional dance, smudging, river bathing, sweat lodges, and time in nature to help community members heal. According to Heather, some of these traditional healing methods are "equivalent to more than 10 years of therapy." Not only does Heather work directly with Indigenous people struggling with substance use, she also advocates for the resources and rights of Indigenous people more broadly.
Mental Health in Heather's Life
Heather draws upon tradition and her higher power to maintain positive mental health. Heather explained to us that Indigenous people often still practice Christianity. By combining her faith with Indigenous traditions, she honours every part of her history. Heather encourages those who are interested to follow their individual spiritual journeys in pursuit of holistic well-being.