Province funds walk-in counselling in P.A. and across Sask.

Catholic Family Services' (CFS) new crisis counsellor Nicole Roy poses in her office on July 4, 2019. Previously, clients were waiting several weeks to see a therapist. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

The Government of Saskatchewan is funding walk-in counselling in 23 communities across the province, one of which is Prince Albert.

Catholic Family Services (CFS) hired crisis counsellor Nicole Roy so people can get an urgent response in emergency situations. Previously, clients were waiting several weeks for a full appointment.

“We all struggle, but as a community we need to support each other and lean on each other,” said Roy in an interview last month.

Executive Director Louise Zurowski said Roy has five spaces available each day, but often provides sessions through lunch because of high demand.

“It’s huge—it means they’re finally listening to us. Because as a mental health agency, we’re totally and completely aware of the need out there. We deal with it every day,” said Zurowski.

She said she’s appreciative that not only is the government supporting mental health services, but they’re providing funding to non-profit organizations.

The province provided a total of $1.2 million for walk-in counselling through Family Service Saskatchewan (FSSask) member agencies.

Other communities include Melfort, Battleford, North Battleford, Tisdale, Saskatoon and Regina. Some communities will have the service offered at more than one place.

“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,” said FSSask Chair Trish St. Onge in a news release.

Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding also commented on the funding announcement in the release: “With more communities offering these important services, more Saskatchewan people can receive timely care closer to home.”

The funding is part of the Government of Saskatchewan’s $402 million investment for mental health and addictions in the 2019-20 budget.

Walk-in counselling is available at CFS from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.