In an effort to combat mental health issues that continually cast a shadow on the well-being of individuals and, consequently, the community as a whole, family counselling will soon be available in Rimbey.
Leanne Evans, program coordinator for Rimbey Neighborhood Place and the Community Wellness Group said the pilot counselling project will begin in late August or early September.
The project will include bringing in a family counsellor from Catholic Social Services one afternoon a week. Fees will be determined on a sliding scale and there will be no charge for those who cannot afford the service and a nominal fee for those in a slightly higher income bracket. The counsellor will work out of the Blindman Youth Action Building.
“It will be a huge asset to the community for clients to not have to drive to the city for family counseling. We have secured a space for the counsellor and the clients to meet with little to no stigma attached, a busy building with lots of reasons for people to come and go,” Evans said.
Appointments can be made now with the family counsellor for the fall by calling Red Deer Catholic Social Service office at 403-347-8844 and specifying that the appointments be made in Rimbey.
Evans said such a counselling service is needed in Rimbey.
“There are many people seeking assistance with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, anger management, depression, blended family issues, self-esteem, couple issues and assertiveness training. There are young people who struggle with trouble at home and at school,” she said.
The counselor will help participants learn healthy strategies to deal with anger, bullying, teasing, violence, community and family conflict.
There is strong support for this type of program from the school social worker, FCSS, Alberta Mental Health and the Early Child Development Coalition who believe that healthy families contribute to a healthy community, said Evans.
She added staff from Alberta Mental Health has indicated they would probably refer two to three people a month to the program.”
Rimbey Victim Service Unit is supportive of this initiative as well, she said.
“They see many clients that could benefit from this service and many clients (end up) in situations that may have been prevented if they had been presented with the option of seeing a family counselor.”
Referrals will also be made from the social worker at the Rimbey Junior Senior High School and West Country Outreach School.
“She (the social workers) would make referrals because she sees so many issues that come through her office that are carried over from home life,” she said.
Catholic Social Services will provide the services to Rimbey and area for $14,810 annually.
To date, Rimbey Victim Services, FCSS and the Town of Rimbey has each contributed $5,000 towards the program.