Free walk-in mental health counselling has been piloted in a number of communities in Saskatchewan and now the Battlefords are to become part of the model.
Tuesday, the government announced it is expanding the service to communities across the province, with a $1.2 million investment from the Government of Saskatchewan.
Free counselling services will be available through Family Service Saskatchewan member agencies for anyone looking for help with a range of issues, including stress, depression, anxiety, family conflict and urgent mental health needs.
Walk-in counselling services have already been piloted by FSSask member agencies in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Humboldt and Melfort. In collaboration with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, services are now expanding to the following communities:
• Indian Head
• North Battleford
• Prince Albert
• Swift Current
“These walk-in counselling services in communities throughout Saskatchewan are free to anyone experiencing a mental health challenge,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding said. “People will receive local help and will be connected to any on-going supports they may need to manage their mental health. With more communities offering these important services, more Saskatchewan people can receive timely care closer to home.”
These services will be available in 23 communities, some in multiple locations within a community. The SHA is working with FSSask to determine the locations of five additional sites.
“This new funding is dedicated to improving access to mental health services in Saskatchewan for everyone,“ Chair of FSSask Trish St. Onge said. “The great thing about walk-in counselling is that people don’t have to wait for a first appointment. It can be a big step reaching out to a counsellor and we are able to serve people immediately.”
Funding for these walk-in services is part of a $402 million investment in mental health and addictions in Saskatchewan’s 2019-20 Provincial Budget.
This initiative also supports the province’s Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.