Mental health services tailored to your needs and experiences

8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday. Phone lines and online services offer, confidential support and follow-up to youth and adults without barriers or judgement.

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Mental health services tailored to your needs and experiences

8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday. Phone lines and online services offer, confidential support and follow-up to youth and adults without barriers or judgement.

We assist Black women and girls who immigrated to Calgary from Africa and the Caribbean.

Transition Age Youths

Transition Age Youths (TAY) refers to individuals who are in the process of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, typically between the ages of 16 and 24.


An adult refers to a person who has reached the age of majority and is considered to have reached the stage of full legal and social maturity.

Older Adults

An older adult, commonly referred to as a senior or elderly person, generally refers to an individual who has reached an advanced stage of life, typically beyond the age of 60.

What is the HERConnect Initiative

The HERConnect initiative is dedicated to transforming mental healthcare for Calgary’s Black immigrant community at no cost. We provide mental health services tailored to the specific needs and experiences of African and Caribbean women and girls who have recently immigrated to Calgary within the past five years.

Who We Are

The visionary HERConnect initiative is brought to you by the Ladies in the Family Foundation (LIFF), in partnership with Alberta Black Therapist Network (ABTN) and Health Research Partners (HRP), with the generous support of the City of Calgary’s Community Safety Investment Framework.


Connecting newly immigrated African and Caribbean women and girls with the support they need during their transition to Canada by providing them with a culturally sensitive mental health crisis response and referral network


To build a resilient, inclusive, and mentally health community for Black immigrants in Calgary.

HERConnect Initiative

Our Services

We assist Black women and girls who have recently immigrated (within 0-5 years) to Calgary from Africa and the Caribbean.

Crisis Response

Immediate assistance for navigating access to basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare with the help of a multicultural link worker and social worker.


We Offer culturally sensitive counseling services customized for newcomers and immigrant Black women and girls, delivered virtually or in-person by Black therapists.


Culturally sensitive virtual and/or in-person therapy services tailored to newcomers and immigrant Black women and girls, provided by Black therapists.

Educational Resources

Providing education and information on mental health issues and resources while fostering a sense of belonging within the Black community.

Community Building

Connecting new community members to cultural communities while helping them find other resources within Calgary.


Assessing access to mental health crisis services for immigrant Black community and collaborating with the City of Calgary and local organizations to improve service provision.

Our Events

Join us in supporting Black women and girls who have recently immigrated (within 0-5 years) to Calgary from Africa and the Caribbean.
Unhappy African American Woman Sitting On Therapy Session Indoor
Racial Justice Conference
Dismantling Systemic Racism, Transforming Lives.
This in-person event will be from March 18-19, 2024. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre.
March 18, 2024
HERConnect Webiner - Natalie
Webinars: Mental Health Talks
Join us as we talk about the "BURNOUT: signs, risk & preventions."
May 8, 2024
HERConnect Initiative Launch - Dan Williams (1)
Transforming Mental Health Care for Black Female Immigrants
May 10, 2024
HERConnect Webiner - Mariam
Webinars: Mental Health Talks
Join us as we talk about the "HIDDEN HOMELESSNESS"
May 22, 2024
HERConnect Webiner - EKene
Webinars: Mental Health Talks
Join us as we talk about the "BLACK DONT CRACK."
June 5, 2024
HERConnect Webiner - Modupe
Webinars: Mental Health Talks
Join us as we talk about the "SEX & YOU - the good and bad."
June 19, 2024

Collaboration Partners

Collaboration is the power of people working together towards a common goal, promoting cooperation and understanding

Health Research Partners

A research organization, primarily owned by women and minorities, who have been involved in public health research for community-led action in Calgary since 2021.

Alberta Black Therapists Network

A collaboration of licensed Black mental health and addictions professionals providing therapy, psycho-educational sessions, and diversity inclusion consultations in Alberta since 2020.

Ladies in the Family Foundation

A non-profit organization building relationships with newly immigrated Black women and girls in Calgary over the past six years, increasing their economic, social, and emotional wellbeing.

Our Funders

As our relationships with local organizations, funders, and stakeholders grow, so does our ability to assist Black women and girls with their mental health needs.

Why Choose Us

Why talk to us about mental health

Ready Anytime

We understand the importance of being available when you need us the most. Whether it's day or night, our dedicated team is ready to provide you with the support and assistance you require.

24/7 Communication

We believe that effective communication is crucial for building strong relationships and providing top-notch service. That's why we offer 24/7 communication channels, anytime, anywhere. Receive prompt response to your inquiries.

Our Team

Our team consists of highly trained professionals who are passionate about helping others. With diverse backgrounds and expertise, our team members are dedicated to providing personalized care and support tailored to your specific needs.

Emergency Help

We understand that emergencies can happen at any moment, and we are here to help. Our team is well-equipped to handle urgent situations and provide the necessary assistance to ensure your safety and well-being.

Advance Technology

We pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the field. By leveraging cutting-edge tools and platforms, we are able to deliver efficient and effective services that meet the highest standards.

Licensed Therapist

Our team includes licensed therapists who are experienced in various therapeutic approaches. We providing professional guidance and support to help you navigate through challenging situations and achieve mental and emotional well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

The HERConnect Initiative provides barrier-free, non-judgmental, and confidential support through 24/7 phone lines and online services. We provide mental health services tailored to the specific needs and experiences of African and Caribbean women and girls who have recently immigrated to Calgary within the past five years.

You can access immediate support and follow-up from the HERConnect Initiative by calling their 24/7 phone lines or using their online services. They offer distress phone services and web-based chat services for youth and adults in distress. These services are available 7 days a week.

Yes, volunteering at the HERConnect Initiative is a great way to make a contribution to the community and gain valuable skills and experience. They have various volunteer roles available, including administration, crisis services responder, youth educator, bereavement volunteer, and communications volunteer. You can join their team of volunteers and provide support to those in need.

If you want to support the HERConnect Initiative financially, you can make a donation through their website. They also have options like the In-Kind donation, gifts in kind, gifts of securities, hosting a fundraiser, workplace donations, and more. Your contribution will help respond to the mental health crisis and foster compassionate, connected, suicide-safer communities.

What is the emergency helpline numbers? The HERConnect Initiative provides several emergency helpline channels. These include 587.893.9355. This helplines are available to individuals in need of immediate support.


Take control of your mental health today. Get the help you need.


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Join Us

Crisis Response Team

Volunteering at HERConnect Initiative is a great way to make a contribution to the community and gain valuable skills and experience. You can join our team and provide support to those in need.

Bukola Ojemakinde, MSc

Executive Director, Ladies in the Family Foundation

Bukola Ojemakinde is a chemical engineer and a passionate community leader, running two nonprofits out of Calgary.

She founded Ladies in the Family Foundation (LIFF) in 2017 in hopes of creating a friendly, collaborative, and culturally diverse platform for women and their families to develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. As the dedicated Executive Director of LIFF, Bukola has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the program and developed countless partnerships with local ethnocultural organizations and nonprofits, utilizing these connections to increase the emotional and mental wellness, social capital, productivity, and integration of newly immigrated women and girls into Calgary.

These strong partnerships provide avenues for mentorship and collaboration, enabling LIFF to support those who are left behind in every sector of our beloved city and solve the critical health and wellbeing challenges that black girls, women and seniors face. Bukola was recognized by Suncor for bringing meaningful changes to her community in 2022, and was awarded Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for her outstanding community service in 2023.

Dr. Samuel Obamiyi, BDS, MSc

Founder and Strategic Advisor, Health Research Partners

Dr. Samuel Obamiyi has been a dentist since 2004 and has been involved in dentistry and healthcare in Africa, the UK, the US and Canada, currently acting as CEO of The Orthodontic Centre at Northland and Horton Park Health in Calgary.

During his clinical residency at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, he was the recipient of multiple awards including Strong Star Award for Patient Care and the Basil Bibby Award for Research. Since then, he has accumulated over 20 years of experience designing and implementing community-based initiatives in diverse contexts, leading projects addressing critical social issues, such as healthcare access and education, in both Africa and North America.

Using his deep understanding of community dynamics, Sam founded Health Research Partners in 2021 to evoke positive change in his community through data-driven project development. Sam’s strategic leadership and passion for health research drives the programmatic approach of HRP, enabling them to enact tailored, community-based interventions and solutions resulting in long-term beneficial change in health and well-being

Dr. Miriam Sekandi, MA, PhD

Special Advisor, Herconnect

“Dr. Miriam Sekandi is an author, keynote speaker, curriculum developer and educator.

She moved to Canada in 2004 from Uganda to pursue her graduate studies at the University of Alberta and obtained a Masters in Textiles and Clothing and a PhD in Secondary Education. She currently lectures in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta and privately delivers keynotes, workshops, and corporate consultations on Anti Racism, Intergenerational and Racial Trauma, Workplace Trauma, Intercultural Education, Parenting Across Cultures, and Mental Health First Aid.

A survivor of severe cultural trauma, Dr. Miriam grew up in Uganda within a fusion of both traditional African culture and the Anglican church. From an early age, she experienced severe abuse at the hands of the village that was meant to raise her. She documented her childhood experiences in her international best-selling book, “It Takes a Village to Wreck a Child.”

Noreen Sibanda, MA, CCC

Registered Provisional Psychologist

Noreen Sibanda is an experienced clinician, speaker, psycho-educational workshop facilitator and a sessional instructor at Concordia University. She has presented at both local and international conferences and has reviewed and developed anti-racism and mental health curricula for organizations and postsecondary institutions.

Noreen currently serves as the Executive Director of Alberta Black Therapist Network and is a University of Alberta alumni, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women and Gender studies. She also holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and is a practicing Registered Provisional Psychologist and owner at Kaizen Psychological and Consulting. Noreen has appeared on podcasts, television and radio shows and is the 2022 NBCA Professional of the Year, recipient of the 2022 Momentum Mental Health Award for outstanding leadership in the mental health community and for founding ABTN, and a 2023 nominee of the Health and Wellness Superlative Awards.

Noreen is a proud executive member of When African Women Talk and is currently applying her passion for mental health, education, social change, and womens rights through her employment as a community-based mental health therapist.

Ekene Balogun, MA, CCC

Canadian Certified Counsellor

Ekene Balogun has a MA in Counselling Psychology and has worked with children, youth, Individuals, and families for over 25 years. Ekene started her career working with “high risk”/vulnerable youths, young mothers, and victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in London UK. Ekene has a wealth of experience working with individuals that have experienced trauma, depression, grief, self-harm, anxiety, stress, bullying and anger.

Ekene graduated in 2004 with a BSC in Social Science & Criminology. After graduating Ekene worked with the Metropolitan Police in London UK, then went onto work with the biggest charity in London NSPCC to protect children from child abuse.

After migrating to Canada in 2012, Ekene went onto to complete a master’s in counselling psychology and endeavors to find the unique blend that is best for her client. There is a famous quote that says, “Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% is how we react to it”. Ekene believes we gain important pieces of wisdom through experience and Ekene’s goal is to reconnect individuals with the hope that change can happen, barriers can be broken, and that the quality of a person’s life can be maximized.

Modupe Olagundoye, MA, CCC

Canadian Certified Counsellor

Modupe Olagundoye holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a Canadian Certified Counsellor-Qualifying (CCC) with over 10 years of experience in the human services sector. As a compassionate mental health practitioner, I provide support to individual adults, children, and youth in a secure environment.

My expertise includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and narrative therapy (Tree of Life Narrative), consistently yielding positive and effective outcomes across diverse cultural backgrounds. I am dedicated to creating a safe space for clients to openly share their deepest fears and facilitate personal growth. Committed to continuous professional development, I strive to enhance my skills to better assist clients in navigating their challenges.

I firmly believe that clients are the architects of their lives, and my role is to accompany them on their journey, working collaboratively to identify solutions that align with their individual needs and meet them where they are.

Flavia Sendagire

Emergency Line Coordinator

With a foundation rooted in the vibrant cultural tapestry of Jinja, Uganda, Flavia brings to the human services field a unique blend of traditions, values, and community spirit. Having lived in Alberta, Canada, for over 25 years she has contributed cultural interpretation and settlement support to healthcare patients and newcomers to Canada, particularly post-secondary international students.

She completed her Settlement Studies at NorQuest College where she earned the prestigious President’s Medal Award, after obtaining a Health Care Certificate at NAIT. She has been actively involved in various volunteering causes, including the Uganda Cultural Association of Alberta and Edmonton Food Bank.

She has also mentored immigrant youth, providing career and settlement guidance and support, using her knowledge from Career Transformation Certification from Higher Landing, Professional Training and Coaching.

Natalie Grant

Registered Social Worker

Natalie is a creative and compassionate humanitarian and advocate. As a registered Social Worker with 5+ years of experience in Alberta, she’s worked extensively with diverse populations, including those facing homelessness, mental health issues, and addiction. Natalie is deeply passionate about social justice, addressing systemic racism, and raising awareness about microaggressions.

Her approach is resourceful, empathetic, and culturally competent, always focusing on strengths. Natalie is dedicated to making a positive impact one individual at a time, leaving the world a better place.

Oluwaseun Osowobi, MAIR

Community Outreach Worker

Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi is a globally recognised gender equality advocate with extensive years of experience in deploying effective solutions to challenge systemic social barriers that promote violence against women and girls through policy and grassroots advocacy. She has implemented community initiatives, programs, and public relations campaigns that improved knowledge, attitudes, and practices on violence prevention, fostered access to social services for women and girls, and empowered citizens to become more aware of their rights to fight against inequalities and violence in their daily lives.

Through her previous engagements, Oluwaseun collaborated with and scaled the capacity of state and non-state actors to implement policies and programs that advance women’s rights and safety. She is a Founding Member of the Feminist Coalition and Council Member of Nala Feminist Collective, two feminist movements advancing women’s rights, access, and accountability measures to mandate that African governments uphold their Generation Equality Forum (GEF) commitments. Oluwaseun holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Swansea University, UK. 

Emilie Toews, MSc, MPH

Program Administrator, HERConnect

Emilie Toews is a driven public health researcher working with Health Research Partners. Recently graduating with a Master of Public Health from Imperial College London, she brings over five years of research experience to the HERConnect project.

Prior to working with HRP, Emilie also undertook a Master of Science with the University of Calgary, where her systematic literature review was published by the International Journal for Parasitology. Her work has been presented at several conferences, including internationally, and has helped highlight the public health importance of Echinococcus multilocularis in Alberta.

Now, Emilie is applying her passion for public health research and project development by aiding in the implementation of the HERConnect initiative in Calgary.