Shania Young says she’s not sure where she’d be without the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre.
After years of addiction struggles, the young mother said she found her way back to the straight and narrow path with the help of counsellors at the 48-year-old facility.
On Wednesday she took part in a rebranding ceremony, the addition of a new branch focusing solely on the needs of women seeking specialized services and trying to overcome some of life’s toughest challenges.
Featuring outreach and drop-in services and five-day-a-week counselling, the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre for Women is a godsend, Young said.
“It’s helped me so much. It’s like family. It’s not just a group to go to, where it’s like a clinical setting. It’s so much family. They care and you can tell that they care about you,” she said.
“They have given me every single bit of information I’ve needed; how to stay sober, how to stay away from triggers, how to take care of my children, how to keep my mental and emotional health good. They’ve taught me everything across the board.”
Seeing a refreshed, more targeted approach is a great idea, she added.
“I think it’s going to be awesome. Something that’s geared toward women is perfect,” Young said.
“They’ll know that they’re comfortable enough to come here. A lot of women think they need to do everything. They neglect their mental health because they want to do everything. So if they have something that’s geared toward them then they’ll know it’s OK to take care of their mental health.”
Executive director Nancy Chamberlain said not every woman needing support can be easily categorized. Some face multiple issues.
The new name comes with new responsibilities, inviting women and letting them know they’re welcome at the centre.
There are a lot more women who could make use of their services, and Chamberlain is hoping the rebranding will encourage them to seek help or support.
“You could be here related to substance abuse, violence against women, mental-health issues, parenting. You don’t even have to tell us what your issues are to be able to come through our door,” Chamberlain said.
She hopes the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre for Women will fill a gap previously missing in the city.
“Whether we realize it or not, we tend to organize programs by funding, so we create silos. It wasn’t that many years ago if I would have called here and said I need counselling, somebody would have said, ‘For what?’
“And I would have had to already figure out what my problem was. And that’s just not how life works.”
Visit www.tbaycounselling.com for more information.
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