This is the second of a two-part story exploring mental health services for men in Revelstoke. Read part 1 here.
Community Connections counselling services client numbers up
Doug Egan is the program manager for counselling services at Community Connections Revelstoke.
The organization covers a broad range of free counselling services, including help for anxiety, depression, stress, addictions, separation/divorce, relationships and violence.
He said one of the keys to their services is accessibility. “It’s not a complicated, bureaucratic process. You phone in and get an appointment. There’s no big hoops, there’s no fees. It’s accessible.”
The team of counsellors have been offering services for about 20 years, but Egan said in the past five years the services have gained real traction as a network of referral agencies use them more often. This includes agencies such as police-based victim services, counsellors in the schools and everyday citizens.
Last year, they had about a 20-per-cent increase in clients; the year before that they jumped up by a dramatic 60 per cent.
Egan said the increases are driven by better awareness and referrals. The higher number of seasonal employees may also be a factor, but is harder to quantify. He said that Community Connections has tried to reach out to new members of the community, such as outreach to resort management.
Despite increased traffic, their funding and staffing model has adapted and they haven’t had to turn people away, Egan said.
Their clients are almost exactly evenly split between males and females when young clients are factored in. As far as Revelstoke is concerned, Egan said it was a myth that men don’t access counselling as often women – although it may be the case elsewhere.
In addition to counselling, programs offered by Community Connections also support those experiencing relationship crisis. That means everything from healthy relationship consultations, housing support services and programs to help manage conflict.
Other non-crisis services include a popular twice-weekly drop-in parenting group for families looking for peer connections, youth groups for boys, independent living skills and adventure-based learning.
Community Connections is located at 314 Second Street East. They can be reached at 250-837-2920.
CMHA manager offers group and telephone-based services
Canadian Mental Health Association regional program manager Dianna Churchill points to two new programs available through CMHA.
The CMHA is part of a larger network of service providers. The Salmon Arm-based manager said CMHA services focus on programming for those living with long-term mental illnesses.
This includes local programs such as the Revelstoke Awareness and Outreach Program (or RAOP pronounced ray-op) which is located in a facility across the alleyway from the Regent Inn. The referral-based centre provides a range of services for those living with mental health challenges.
The CMHA also provides shorter-term programming.
She points to their upcoming Living Life to the Fullest program available in March. It’s an eight-week group program designed to help clients tackle everyday stressors. It’s about “getting people together to help people.”
She also points to their phone-based program called Bounce Back, which targets those with chronic low mood issues that aren’t clinical depression, but nevertheless require help. The program uses workbooks, a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based program and a coach to help clients overcome their low mood issues.
The programs would benefit men, but neither are tailored specifically to men.
Churchill manages an area including Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, and often provides referrals to other mental health and counselling services. “What happens a lot of times is people don’t know where to go, so they phone us,” she said. Like other providers, she refers those who call to more appropriate services, if necessary.
Contact the local CMHA branch at 250-542 3114, or via the Interior Crisis Line Network for critical incidents at 1-888-353-2273.
Correction: The first part of this series stated that the RCMP were classifying the fatal Jan. 17 house fire in Arrow Heights as a suicide. In fact, the Revelstoke RCMP hasn’t made a final determination on the fire, which will be up to the BC Coroners Service. An RCMP spokesperson told the Times Review that all indications pointed to suicide.