Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Centre stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand at the inaugural fundraiser in 2020. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer 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 at the inaugural fundraiser in 2020. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer photo)

Golden Family Centre launches third annual fundraiser for drop-in counselling

The fundraiser launches on Bell Lets Talk Day

The Golden Family Centre (GFC) has launched its third annual fundraiser to help support drop-in counselling every Wednesday for the community.

The program is completely funding by local donations and grants, with the GFC seeking to match their total raised of $20,000 from last year again this year.

Helena Oosthoek, executive director of the GFC, says that the drop-in service has been valuable to the community, especially over the last two years, and has reached people that they don’t typically see in their regular programs.

For instance, she says that they see more men coming to the drop-in program, as well as a slightly younger demographic.

“I think it’s been incredibly valuable for people to know there is something in the moment and they may need it and a lot of people struggling with rising levels of anxiety and stress for different reasons,” said Oosthoek.

“This is just one of the tools, one of the options, so that we can help people in the moment.”

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.

The fundraiser kicks off on Jan. 26, which is also Bell Lets Talk day, a day dedicated to raising awareness around mental health and starting a conversation to help alleviate stigma surrounding mental illness.

Those who participate in Bell Lets Talk Day can do so by using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on social media, with five cents going towards mental health initiatives with each use.

Or, if you’re looking to support mental health and keep it local, a donation to the GFC for the drop-in counselling will suffice.

“We’ve tied in with it because the whole point is mental health and to find a path forward for those who are struggling in that moment,” said Oosthoek.

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She also says that the drop-in service is flexible, as it can either help people who need help as a one-off, or provide a stop gap to a longer term solution.

“Of course there’s different kinds of long terms counselling as well, but sometimes it takes some time to get in there, so the advantage of the drop in clinic it’s once a week every week and people don’t need to wait.”

She says that ever year she’s blown away by the community support for the program, and how readily people can rally behind the fundraiser to keep the program running.

Any donation is enough, she says.

Over the last few years, she’s seen the program grow, from once counsellor running all the time slots, to two to three counsellors splitting duties throughout Wednesday. She also says that each year she’s surprised by the sheer number of donors who contribute.

As well, she says it’s important to spread the word, just in case someone hasn’t heard of the program who could potentially benefit from it. All appointments are confidential and private.

More information can be found on the GFC website, as well as a link to donate.

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


Claire Palmer
Editor for the Golden Star
Email me at claire.palmer@thegoldenstar.net
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mental health