With the days getting darker and our wind-driven West Coast rain coming down in buckets, sometimes it feels harder to get out of bed in the morning, and a lot of us start to feel the winter blues.
Many of our neighbours have other pressures in their lives; unemployment, addictions, housing, family breakdown, financial issues, loss and health problems. As we get closer to the Christmas season, these worries and anxieties get worse for some people, making them feel hopeless and isolated, not knowing where to turn for help.
The LRCA Volunteer Counseling Program is a unique service which provides free counselling services to individuals who are deterred from accessing mental health services because they don’t meet the Provincial Health guidelines or can’t financially afford to work with private practitioners.
The program is supervised by John Parker, a registered clinical counsellor, who co-ordinates the program, monitors the volunteer counsellors, and assesses clients for intake. Parker was a millworker before he went back to school to get his Masters in Clinical Psychology, and he understands firsthand how hard things can get for families on the Island. Confidential counselling is provided by practicum students taking their Master Degrees in Clinical Psychology.
The LRCA program accepts clients who hear about the service and call the centre, clients referred by Police Victim Services, mental health practitioners and family physicians. The counsellors provide non-judgemental service to individuals and couples, and they accept referrals from Ladysmith Police-Based Victim Services, and the Domestic Violence Court in Duncan. —Submitted by the LRCA