Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Centre stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer - Star photo)

Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Centre stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer - Star photo)

Golden Family Centre fundraising to support drop-in counselling on Bell Lets Talk day

Every Wednesday, the Golden Family Centre (GFC) provides access to drop-in counselling services to help people who may be struggling with their mental health. In order to continue providing the service it needs to fundraise money.

Originally funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, the GFC needs to raise at minimum of 25 per cent of the program costs locally in order to keep the program running.

To do so, the GFC has been trying to raise money through a letter writing campaign and Facebook campaign to share information and solicit donations. Donations are being accepted online through its website or by cheque.

The non-profit organization also set up a booth outside of the GFC building on Wednesday (Jan. 29) for Bell Lets Talk day with hot chocolate and a couple of GFC employees to lend an ear to anyone looking to talk.

“We’ve had some online donations and some letters and cheques in the mail,” said Helena Oosthoek, executive director of the GFC. “It’s nice to see people supporting the program.”

The drop-in clinic runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and has been running since March 2018. No appointments are necessary and sessions are about an hour-and-a-half long.

“Just the sessions alone without any other steps, people feel like by having someone listen and being heard, it creates clarity in their minds,” said Oosthoek. “The people who have enjoyed the sessions say that it’s just what they needed at the right time.”

Drop-in counselling offers same-day access to counselling services and is a place for individual adults to come to when they are in need of someone to talk to. There is a professional counsellor to listen and work with the individual to create a plan with next steps and to help people create the change that they are looking for in their life.

The service also offers an encouraging and supportive environment to help identify any issues and recognize and build on people’s strengths and abilities to develop strategies. The organization can also refer someone to other counselling services if it’s deemed appropriate.

Oosthoek said it’s important to tie in its fundraiser with Bell Lets Talk, which she believes comes at a critical point in the year.

“I think it’s hugely important that it’s in January even though it’s a cold day to be outside, because it’s at a time of year where a lot of people really struggle with mental health,” said Oosthoek. “It’s spreading the message that having a mental health struggle is normal, it’s something that all of us at some point in our life deal with.”

One of the most important purposes for the drop-in counselling is to provide immediate relief to those who may be struggling, but find themselves on a wait list for other programs available in Golden.

Mental health programs are also available through the Golden & District Hospital.

For Oosthoek, initiatives like Bell Lets Talk day and drop-in counselling are only the beginning. She hopes to grow the conversation and wants people to know that while it’s important to talk about mental health, it’s also equally as important to listen.

mental health