Building better access to mental health services

3 MIN READ

This video was produced in January 2020, prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has impacted community programs in ways both big and small, meaning this program may look a bit different right now. This story is an example of how United Way works with our community partners to make a difference 365 days a year—no matter what challenges our community faces.

Lindsey’s story is not uncommon. 

A single mom with a teenage son and two young daughters, Lindsey struggled with taking time for her well-being, to care for herself and her mental health. 

When she ran into challenges with housing and with her personal relationships, Lindsey needed a trusted advocate who could keep her grounded and help her persevere through the tough times. 

"I need support and I need help. I need someone to sit there and listen to me and give me tools on how to cope."

Lindsey, South East Ottawa Community Health Centre client

By partnering with United Way, the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre (SEOCHC) ensures local residents like Lindsey have timely, compassionate mental health care available close to home.

In Canada, one in five people struggle with their mental health. Although we’ve been working as a community to stomp the stigma surrounding mental health, many across our region—especially those who live on a low-income or who live in rural communities—are still unsure of where to turn when they need help. 

United Way East Ontario believes that every person in Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County deserve access to the mental health support they need, when they need it.

SEOCHC supports those in need of support with short-term individual counselling, therapeutic support groups, and a walk-in counselling clinic—all free of charge to clients.

Everyone deserves support

By providing tools and strategies to cope with mental health challenges, regardless of financial circumstance, SEOCHC is able to drastically change the lives of low-income and vulnerable populations across South-East Ottawa. 

Counselling is often reported as one of the greatest community needs, but is also one of the least likely to be met, due to either high demand or other barriers to accessing mental health support, like cost or location. 

With United Way’s support, SEOCHC has been able to significantly reduce wait times on the demand for mental health services in the community—ensuring people have access to the support they need, when they need it.

What the future holds

United Way works to ensure mental health supports like 24/7 crisis lines, one-on-one and group counselling, as well as peer support groups are available in our communities so people can keep moving forward with their lives.

For Lindsey, mental health counselling from Kamilla has made a world of difference in helping her cope with the challenges that crop up in her personal life.

“Having this service has been a lifesaver.”

Lindsey, South East Ottawa Community Health Centre client

Mental health stigma often keeps people from seeking help. When a person is ready to take that step, it’s important that someone is there to listen and provide effective, professional guidance. With the support of our donors, we can help local people find the support they need.

During COVID-19, affordable, reliable mental health resources are critical to maintaining our community’s resilience over the long term.

Help us change the atmosphere and barriers to mental health that exist within our communities.

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