The Mawiomi Treatment Center in Gesgapegiag was developed in 1986. The goal of the center was to provide treatment both culturally and clinically to those battling addiction. It was initially built to help serve the people of Gesgapegiag and Listuguj, but has grown into something much more, and has become a significant resource to people all over Quebec, and the Maritimes. The center was closed for renovations in May this year and re-opened in August with new features and updates.
The center is an eight-bed residential facility and offers a six-week treatment service for those battling with substance abuse and addictions. The treatment center consists of over 20 staff members. There are various types of healing treatments and plans that are practiced in the facility. There is a culture program, in which traditional healers offer ceremonies, sweat lodges, cultural teachings, medicine picking, and more. There are clinical-based workshops available as well, aiding those with mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, and more. As of recently, the center has a partnership with a local psychologist who provides one hour of therapy each week to clients in the facility. After the six-week treatment program is complete, there are aftercare counselors who follow up with the clients for up to 18 months.
Melissa Bryan is the Executive Director at the Mawiomi Treatment Center. She took on this position a year ago but has been working at the center for four years. When it comes to the center, Bryan said, “It has really evolved over the years, more importantly the last five years. I’ve noticed a big shift in the service delivery. We’re no longer just providing a roof over individual’s heads and keeping them sober for six weeks, it’s more than that. We’re trying to evolve into pre-treatment services, aftercare, tapping into family resources, family support, and outreach and outpatient services.”
The center offers a LiveChat which is available 24/7 to anyone looking for support and guidance. There are staff who work all day and throughout the night on this chat, “They are well trained in responding to some of those difficult situations and conversations. All of them are also trained for suicide evaluations and suicide risk assessment,” said Bryan. You can find the LiveChat via Facebook, under the name, “Mawiomi LiveChat”. Other resources available are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, which are open every Tuesday and Thursday evening for anyone to attend.
The staff at the Mawiomi Treatment Centre are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable when it comes to helping their clients. It’s important to be surrounded by loved ones, and support circles. Not only does addiction impact the individual battling it, but it also affects their family and the people around them. Regarding self-care and mental health, Bryan said, “We often don’t prioritize ourselves or take care of ourselves. We all have experienced some form of trauma, and with that, we kind of lose ourselves in it. Over years and years, it really affects the individual. It has a toll- so just seeing people be well. It’s no longer just being sober, or happy. You just want to be well.”
If you or a loved one is dealing with the effects of substance abuse and addictions, the Mawiomi Treatment Center is always available to contact. They will provide you with information and resources to help you begin your journey to wellness.
You can find contact information on Facebook on their page, “Mawiomi Treatment Center” or on their website: https://www.mawiomi.org/
By Ann Marie Jacques