June 20th, 2024

City subsidies being offered to help pay for counselling services supporting mental health

By Tim Kalinowski on August 21, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The City of Lethbridge and the Canadian Mental Health Association are encouraging residents in Lethbridge who feel they need additional counselling for their mental health to take advantage of the $300,000 in City-funded subsidies available through the Integrated Coordinated Access Network.
The Network provides a list of local mental health counselors who can access the subsidy when clients come to them to seek counselling, but who struggle to pay for these services.
“The City has always supported counselling in the community, but now here in 2021 things are done a little differently,” says Peter Imhoff, Canadian Mental Health Association Integrated Coordinated Access program lead. “I think what is important about that is to get away from the idea that counselling is a luxury, and it’s expensive, and it’s only affordable by people who have a lot of resources to throw at it. So it makes sure counselling is affordable, and everybody can access counselling to help them with their mental health. That is especially important after COVID where mental health has certainly suffered.”
Some advocates have talked about a mental health crisis in Canadian society coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, where personal support networks and external support networks were disrupted leading to worsening mental health outcomes.
Imhoff says the word “crisis” implies a situation which arose and which will eventually be resolved. He says the truth is Canadians constantly struggle with mental health as an ongoing battle which the COVID-19 pandemic worsened because it undermined the usual supports people who suffer with mental health rely on to get through their day to day lives.
“There is a lot more risk for our mental health because these things have fallen away,” he states. “It’s an ongoing concern. We are never done with our mental health.”
That’s why Imhoff is hoping anyone needing additional support and counselling will take advantage of the subsidy being offered to get the help they need regardless of their personal financial situation.
“We really want to encourage community members to make sure they are in a good place, and they can take steps to find out what’s out there and what’s available (to support mental health),” he says.
To learn more about counselling fee assistance and to see a complete list of local counselling services who have signed on to administer the subsidy visit http://www.lethbridgeica.ca/counselling or call 403-317-0686.

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