June 24th, 2024

Donation set to reduce LFS counselling wait times

By Lethbridge Herald on January 29, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Trina Tymko and her husband Kim speak about the donation their family made to Lethbridge Family Services’ counselling services, in hopes to inspire others that can help to come forward and do the same.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Family Services’ counselling service is the recipient of a very timely and needed donation from a local family to help reduce wait times for those in need. 

To address the need in areas of mental health and wellness for children and youth, Lethbridge Family Services has received a major gift from the Tymko Family donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta. 

“Mental health is near and dear to our hearts. In our family, many of us suffer from mental health issues, whether it be addiction or depression, but we also have the means to have great access to the counselling and treatment that we need as a family,” said Trina Tymko on Friday. 

She said she and her family heard about the need and the current wait times for LFS clients while volunteering for the organization, and they decided to help once again. 

The Tymko family had made a previous private donation in December 2019, but this time they decided to go public to create awareness of the need and to help stop the stigma on mental health. 

“It’s unfortunate that people in the community need to come forward and make these donations, that the government isn’t doing their job in supporting families. But we want to bring awareness in the community, where the need is, and hopefully other people will come forward and help,” said Tymko. 

Director of counselling outreach and education at Lethbridge Family Services, Lisa Lewis, said they receive some funding from different ministries in the province and they also apply for different grants at the federal level. 

“But it’s not enough, it’s definitely not enough during these times. It never was enough and during these times it’s definitely not enough,” said Lewis.  

Kim Tymko said he definitely sees the lack of action from government and believes there needs to be more action than talk. 

“It just seems like governments do lots of talking and they do all these action plans and meetings, and spend all this money on stuff, but nothing comes about, it just doesn’t get anywhere,” said Kim. 

His wife Trina agreed with him by saying the money needs to be there to back up their talk. 

And that is exactly what their donation will do, helping with the immediate need of reducing wait times as people need help now, not months down the road. 

“When you’re being told you have to wait three months, you have to wait six months, you have to wait 12 months…like I’m sorry I can’t put off this breakdown, I can’t put off the help that I need, that my child needs,” said Trina. 

She said mental health is part of healthcare and it needs to be treated as such. 

“The money that has been donated to us will go towards hiring new staff, as well as supporting the purchase of some play items that we need to get, in order to deliver the non-directive or directive play therapy in our place therapy room,” said Lewis. 

Lewis said hiring new staff is one way they will be able to reduce wait times for their clients as their wait times have doubled since the beginning of COVID. 

“We’ve gone at times needing to triage families which is completely unacceptable. We’re having to do that in the sense of what is it that their needs are, but also to figure out if they have some resources, and do they have some supports already that can support them during this time until they can access counselling,” said Lewis. 

She said that while triage is really important in the sense that they can meet the needs of some of the clients that are really struggling, but they should be able to meet the needs of all clients that are struggling. 

The size of the Tymko’s financial donation to LFS was not disclosed publicly.

For more information on LFS counselling services visit their website at lfsfamily.ca 

Follow @APulidoHerald on Twitter

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