Main Body

15 Aftercare 1: Supportive Resources for Distress

The following resource kit was prepared by Amy Desjarlais and Rebirthed Teachings working group, for participants of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise or other Indigenous educational exercises with potentially triggering material, such as In Their Moccasins.

The Rebirthed Teachings Aftercare Toolkit

The Rebirthed Teachings Aftercare Toolkit is an introduction to the resources available through the Rebirthed Teachings (RT) Working Group. Rebirthed Teachings is formerly known as the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) Working Group. For those of you just beginning your journey, we’ve designed a Holistic Four Step Aftercare Process to support your learning with us. Here you will learn about the first two steps: Self-care & Self-education

The holistic approach we are using in the aftercare process consists of four key areas: Spirit (energy), Emotions (feelings), Mind (thoughts), and Body (actions). Spirit (energy) is infused into all aspects of our work, from the circle format during our KBE delivery, to the inclusion of, and receiving guidance from, Indigenous Elder(s) when possible.

In this RT Aftercare Toolkit, we will focus on two of the four key areas: Emotions (feelings) and Mind (thoughts).

The final key area–Body (actions)–can be explored by joining our Rebirthed Teachings Community Learning Circles.

Overview of the Holistic Four Step Aftercare Process

Host Toolkit

Indigenous-friendly environment

KEY AREA: Spirit (energy) is infused into all aspects of our work

This is a resource for the people who host KBE events on campus.

Aftercare Toolkit

STEP 1: Self-care (continued)
KEY AREA: Emotions (feelings): Check in, Ask yourself “How am I feeling?”

STEP 2: Self-education
KEY AREA: Mind (thoughts)


The RT community shares an important teaching, “that you will have more energy to give to others if you learn how to take care of yourself first”. This means that before going out to work with an Indigenous person, group, or community, take time to work through any feelings or thoughts that arise from your participation in the KBE. The Exercise is quite a powerful experiential teaching tool, so we understand that as a participant you may (or may not) experience a wide range of emotions while participating in a KBE. Initially, we encourage participants to focus on self-care, and reflecting on the experience with friends, family, and co-workers.

We trust that you, as a participant, will know best when and how you need to reach out for help. As a courtesy, we’ve included a few resources for you about on-campus resources and short-term care (see the next pages).

STEP 2: Self-education

Mind (thoughts): Reflect, Ponder, Learn

The Rebirthed Teachings Aftercare Toolkit invites you to take responsibility for your initial learning and self-reflection. We strongly suggest that participants have a look at some of the resources & materials created by, for, and with Indigenous peoples before you head out to a community initiative or jump into an activist, advocate, or allyship role.

Well-being and Outreach Resources on Campus

Ryerson University’s employee assistance program is a suite of services including one on one counselling and a 24 hour helpline for Ryerson staff and faculty.

Students can reach out to the Centre for Counselling and Student Development for assistance.

What can I do about how I am feeling?

The list below is adapted from an excerpt from a dissertation entitled “Understanding mental health and wellbeing knowledge among Aboriginal post-secondary students”. Used with permission.

Source: Davey, C (2014). “Understanding mental health and wellbeing knowledge among Aboriginal post-secondary students” Unpublished. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Coping Ideas:

  • Go to the gym or exercise on your own: walk, run, bike, etc.
  • Talk to family and friends for support
  • Read about whatever you may be going through (e.g., look up concerns online)
  • Watch TV
  • Sleep
  • Write in a journal
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Have a hot bath, shower, or sauna
  • Read a book, newspaper, or magazine
  • Cry
  • Eat your favorite food
  • Get or give a massage
  • Socialize with others
  • Laugh or make others laugh
  • Play a board game
  • Listen to music
  • Make music
  • Garden
  • Play with your pet
  • Splash cold water on your face
  • Talk to an Elder,
  • Go on a nature hike
  • Go to a sweat lodge ceremony
  • Turn to traditional medicines
  • Pray/give thanks to the Creator
  • Make a drum
  • Drum and/or sing traditional songs
  • Bead
  • Deal with mental health issues within the family
  • Smudge
  • Connect to the land (e.g., by going to a park or going back to your Aboriginal community)
  • Turning to your ceremonies.
  • Elders and healers can work with those who have more severe mental health issues
  • Bring different caregivers together to address all dimensions of the self

**Go to the Emergency Room or check yourself into an inpatient unit if there is concern that you may harm yourself***


Canadian Mental Health Association
t: 416-535-8501

Information about individual psychiatrists, listed by speciality area (affective disorders, schizophrenia), location and languages spoken.

The 519
t: 416-392-6874

Offers trauma-informed counselling services that prioritize the experiences and support needs of LGBTQ2S+ people. Does provide free in house counselling (up to six sessions). Some services offered through this organization require a fee, but all are sliding scale.

For more information visit:
CAMH – Trauma: Where to go when you’re looking for help 

Crisis Lines:

Assaulted Women’s Helpline 
Telephone support for women experiencing violence
t: 1-866-863-0511

Victim Services Toronto
24/7 crisis line for individuals who have experienced trauma, crime or tragedy
t: 416-808-7066

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
Telephone support for individuals who have been sexually assaulted
t: 416-597-8808

Central Family Intake
Shelter intake line for women and children fleeing abuse
t: 416-397-5637

Good2Talk Post-Secondary Student Helpline
Good2Talk is a free, confidential and anonymous helpline providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions

t: 1-866-925-5454
Area Served: Ontario
16 – 30 years

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO)
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) offers a 24-hour Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line.

w: Mental Health and Addiction Services
t: 1-877-767-7572

Area Served: Ontario
All ages

Ontario Poison Centre
The Ontario Poison Centre is a telephone toxicology consultation service providing expert poison advice 24 hours a day.

toll-free: 1-800-268-9017
toronto: 416-813-5900

Area Served: Ontario
All ages

Crisis Services Canada
Crisis Services Canada is a national network of existing distress, crisis and suicide prevention line services.

t: 1-833-456-4566 (Crisis Line)

Area Served: Canada
All ages

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
The hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada 24/7.

t: 1-855-242-3310

Area Served: Canada
All ages

Youth Space is an online crisis & emotional support chat service. They are open from 6PM- Midnight PST, 365 days a year.

t: 778-783-0177 (text only)


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In Their Moccasins Copyright © by Sarena Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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