SASKATOON -- Family Service Saskatchewan has started a website offering quick access to free counselling and mental health services for people across Saskatchewan.

“I think all of the uncertainty that people have been experiencing over the past year has created a lot of anxiety which has escalated a lot of issues for people,” said Christa Daku, chair of Family Service Saskatchewan.

“Sometimes people just need someone to talk to. Just having that support and validation for what they’re experiencing is really, really crucial to someone’s wellbeing.”

The service is for anyone 12 and up looking for help with a wide range of issues including stress, depression, anxiety and family conflict.

Through Rapid Access Counselling, people can connect with qualified counsellors for a free, immediate and brief counselling session ranging from 50 minutes to an hour.

“By offering brief and solution-focused style therapy, individuals can come in simply for one or two or three sessions, it just depends on their need. And we know that a lot of people just need some tools to be able to carry on when they have a little hiccup in their life,” Daku said.

OPENING DOORS IN RURAL AREAS

She said Family Service Saskatchewan can also help connect people who have more significant issues to a long-term counsellor in their community.

Family Service Saskatchewan has been offering Rapid Access Counselling in over 23 communities since 2019 in partnership with 11 agencies.

In addition to walk-in sessions, it now offers virtual and telephone counselling sessions due to the pandemic.

Daku said this option has also helped them reach more people in rural communities who may not have the same access to service as those in urban centres.

“We wanted to be able to open the doors up to those who are rural. We know that most of Saskatchewan is rural, so just providing the opportunity,” she said.