Catholic Family Services walk-in service adds counsellor

Appointments limited to phone or online as per public health rules

Prince Albert Catholic Family Services. – Kelly Skjerven/Daily Herald

Prince Albert Catholic Family services is growing its walk-in counselling services.

Michael Dupont has been working as counsellor for around six years and has a background in addictions counselling. He also offers sessions in French.

In an interview with the Herald, Dupont said some main issues he’s noticed from clients are related to stress, addictions and relationships.

Dupont added that addictions and mental health counselling has always been close to him.

“I was assuming that coming here would be a good challenge to reach out to more, to offer services to more people,” Dupont said.

The counselling services are open to “anyone and everyone,” says counsellor Kim Rock.

“I think a common misconception with folks is because our name is Catholic Family Services we only serve people that identify as being Catholic, which is not true,” Rock explained.

The counselling office offers a variety of services for those dealing with addiction, anxiety, depression, family conflicts and more.

The counsellors have been “quite busy” with clients lately. Rock agrees that the popularity of the walk-in option speaks to the need for more mental health services in Prince Albert.

“I think one of the biggest dilemmas for folks is access to affordable mental healthcare. (With) our walk-in program we try to reduce or remove that barrier because it’s free for people to access the walk-in counsellor and it’s very rapid access, people don’t have to wait,” Rock said.

She added that long waitlists are another reason people struggle to see mental health professionals. The service is funded by outside agencies.

Rock also offered up some advice for people who are currently battling stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns during a holiday season in a pandemic.

“I think one of the biggest things for folks is, as best as they are able, to not isolate themselves. I know it’s hard because we’re told not to be visiting folks but we still have options through phone, through Zoom, through other video chats to still reach out and talk to people,” Rock said.

She also suggested reducing news intake, and pointed to “COVID-related sensationalist articles” which can add to stress and anxiety.

Currently, services are only offered through telehealth due to COVID-19 restrictions which means appointments will be over the phone or online.

Rock said that they are also open to partnering with other agencies to do more community outreach. She encourages any business that want to provide mental health support to clients or staff to contact Catholic Family Services to see if they can help.

With files from Peter Lozinski