Mel & Shirley Chartrand
Mel and Shirley Chartrand have been delivering and designing in-depth mental health services since 1988 through their company Being You Inc. Since they founded the company, Mel and Shirley have held more than 9,000 individual and group sessions across North America, including many First Nation communities. Over 3,500 Indigenous individuals have participated in their sessions.
Drawing upon formal training, personal experiences, cultural practices and unwavering passion to make life better for Indigenous people, Mel and Shirley have founded, researched, created and delivered Indigenous based sessions on change, healing and development. They have extensive combined knowledge, experience and observation in program research, development and delivery.
In 1999, with the guidance of Elders, they co-founded Eyaa-Keen Healing Centre a not-for-profit charitable organization. As Co-Directors, they created a series of victim-oriented Indigenous Mental Health Services called Being Me, Being Free™.
In 2003, they led the process to prepare Eyaa-Keen for International Accreditation. In 2005, Eyaa-Keen received International Accreditation in Outpatient Treatment: Indigenous Mental Health (Adults) through CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). This is the highest level of accreditation that an organization can receive.
Mel and Shirley are recognized and respected for their ground-breaking, in-depth work using Indigenous Traditional based Indigenous Mental Health treatment to address depression, anxiety and grief/loss. In 1991, they became service providers for First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, providing crisis intervention sessions until 2012. They are also called upon to provide consulting services for treatment, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs and are co-authors of a book, Natural Healing: Ninawendam Bimosetowin Nibimatiziwinan (I’m Walking My Life in Peace), written to help readers create awareness of self.
Their specialized individual and group sessions are Indigenous Traditional based and geared towards working through the effects of traumas from sexual abuse, family violence, victims of crime and the Residential School Legacy. In addition to providing psychological rehabilitation services, Mel and Shirley have developed training programs for caregivers and staff in areas of self-care, self-management, team-building and life balance, as well as intervention treatment services.
In 2011, they purchased 50 acres of bush land which has been developed for Ceremonial/Cultural activities and has many trails for hiking and snowshoeing.
In 2013, Mel and Shirley were honoured and recognized by 12th annual “Keeping the Fires Burning” Honouring Ceremony and dinner which celebrates the achievements of First Nation, Inuit and Metis Grandmothers and Grandfathers.
Mel and Shirley receive their personal strength and self-disciplines by practicing and living by Ojibway (Anishinabek) principles and values which they apply as the foundation to do their work. They remain on their own healing paths, and continue to work with and learn from Elders so they can live and teach in Traditional ways. They celebrate five children and eight grandchildren.