When I first met the NICRS Advocate our small community was going through a really bad time. In the space of a few days, two people took their lives. They were my relatives and my children and other members of the family were really hurting. The community was in shock and sad and angry at the same time. We are far from any big cities, so we don’t have many services to help or they haven’t wanted to come into our community. Within a couple of days, the Advocate came and talked to the Elders and the family to offer their help. We found out that the Advocate had family connections to our mob, so it was easy to talk with him. Having those links to our community meant he understood our culture and local traditions. Because of this the community welcomed and trusted him.
What was important to us was that we had the choice to say yes or no to the help from the NICRS. Because of the way the Advocate spoke with us and his understanding of what we were going through, it was easy to accept his help.
Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for the Advocate. He seemed like he was on our side and was prepared to go above and beyond what other services were prepared to do. As new issues cropped up, he worked with us and the Elders to deal with those issues.
What I noticed from the involvement of the Advocate was that because of his help, we got more help from other services who usually didn’t get involved with our mob. It seemed like the Advocate was able to get the other services working together help us become healthier and stronger. We now have ongoing relationships with those services and those services seem more comfortable working with our community.
It’s been more than a year now and we still hear from the Advocate regularly. We also know that we can call him if needed at any time.