REGINA - There is an expansion in free rapid access counselling for children and youth in Regina thanks to funding from the provincial government.
Catholic Family Services Regina announced Monday it will be offering free rapid access counselling to children and youth, as part of the province’s $1.7 million in new annual funding to Family Service Saskatchewan.
That money is being used so Family Service Saskatchewan can expand its Rapid Access Counselling Program to young people in the provinces. It is in addition to the $1.5 million the province already provides the organization in serving adults. The plan is to expand it to all 24 locations of Family Service Saskatchewan in the province.
The Catholic Family Services location on McIntosh Street is the second location in Regina offering the free counselling service, which will assist young people in addressing mental health issues including anxiety and depression, domestic violence or addictions issues.
According to the province’s news release, since May, counselling services have also been launched at Family Service Regina, as well as in Saskatoon at Navera Community Connections, in Weyburn, Estevan, Carlyle, Oxbow, North Battleford, Yorkton, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Humboldt, Kindersley, Leader, Unity, Rosetown, Family Service Saskatoon and Swift Current.
The goal, according to the province's Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions, is for that rapid access counselling for children to expand to all 24 locations of Family Service Saskatchewan.
“The expansion of rapid access counselling services will make a difference to young people who urgently need access to professional supports, and I really believe the benefits will be felt in communities across the province,” said Saskatoon Riversdale MLA Marv Friesen at the announcement.
At the announcement, Friesen was shown around the Catholic Family Services space including to a “play therapy room” filled with toys that allows children to feel comfortable and open up to counsellors. This was set up based on best practises for what works best for children to be able to express themselves.
"This launch marks a significant milestone in the expansion of child and youth rapid access counselling in Regina and surrounding areas," Catholic Family Services Regina Executive Director Danielle Goulden said, who said they were proud to be a partner organization collaborating with Family Service Saskatchewan in the initiative.
"The recent funding for the Child and Youth Rapid Access program is tailor made to support both caregivers and children. This initiative places a strong emphasis on nurturing healthy child development, enhancing caregiver capacity, and fostering resilience within the families. Within our organization, our goal with this program is very clear. Children and youth cannot afford to wait when it comes to mental health and well-being. By offering quick, accessible pathways to care we aim to prevent and minimize the escalation of mental health issues within families.”
What the announcement means, she said, is quick and easy access to mental health supports, not just for children but families as well. “This is really based on the philosophy there is no wrong door in terms of accessing mental health, and we truly believe Family Service Saskatchewan in partnership with the government truly believes that children and youth and families should not and cannot wait to access those mental health supports that are really vital to their wellbeing.”