Days set for walk-in counselling services

EAST CENTRAL — Walk-in counselling is now open for anyone that needs it who lives in the northern part of the east central region.

The North East Outreach and Support Services has walk-in counselling in Melfort on Mondays, in Nipawin on Wednesdays and Fridays, and in Tisdale on Thursdays. Tisdale’s sessions start this week, while the other have already started.

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“These ones are for any issue that people want to access a counsellor for,” said Louise Schweitzer, North East Outreach’s executive director.

They are also free of charge for anyone that seeks them out.

The service can help people with a wide range of issues, including stress, depression, anxiety, family conflict and urgent needs. It can also connect their patients to other community health services if it’s found that’s something they might need.

Walk-in counselling services are being offered in 23 communities across Saskatchewan this year, done by agencies that are under the umbrella of Family Service Saskatchewan. The provincial government is providing $1.2 million for the effort.

Schweitzer said they’ve hired a counsellor, Mikaela Bernier, who is devoted to providing walk-in counselling.

“We’re early into the program, but we know from the walk-ins that were happening with our domestic and sexualized violence counsellors, our personal health counsellors, that she's going to be kept very busy.”

Schweitzer said the hope is that the service will help alleviate the stress on the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s mental health services by tending to problems earlier – or get more extensive help to somebody who needs it sooner.

“I'm glad that people are using the services and not leaving it until it is a mental health challenge,” she said.

The walk-in counselling sessions in Melfort are at North East Outreach’s Melfort office Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  In Nipawin, they are at North East Outreach’s Nipawin office Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In Tisdale, they are at 1003 102nd Avenue on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

There are plans to use Tuesdays as a day to provide the service in other communities.

In Humboldt, walk-in services are being provided by Partners Family Services at their office on Main Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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