Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



Mental health services offered to evacuees

The Hay River-KFN wildfire on May 19, 2023
The Hay River-KFN wildfire on May 19, 2023. Mike Westwick/GNWT


Several mental health services and resources are available to evacuees affected by the Hay River-KFN wildfire.

Being evacuated is stressful, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) said on Facebook on Friday, adding that mental health resources can help residents deal with the difficult situation.

Mental health workers are available in person at Yellowknife’s multiplex between 9am and 9pm daily, including over the long weekend, according to NTHSSA.



Remote supports are also available. NTHSSA said evacuees looking for information on mental health services should contact the Yellowknife Community Counselling office at (867) 767-9110 ext. 3, whether they are located in Yellowknife or elsewhere.

The Yellowknife Community Counselling office offers phone counselling Monday to Friday, between 8:30am and 5pm.

Several additional helplines are listed on the NTHSSA website.

In addition, Kátł’odeeche First Nation shared a Facebook post from Jon Hunt, a Hay River resident and registered psychologist, who is offering free phone counseling to KFN members affected by the fire.

As of Friday, the wildfire remained out of control and had burned almost 3,000 hectares. Residents who evacuated last weekend have not been allowed to return home.

On Friday evening, Chief April Martel told the CBC that 18 families’ homes and five major buildings had been damaged by the fire. Earlier, the NWT government estimated that 15 of the First Nation’s buildings had been affected.