B.C. extends access to counselling in Greater Victoria

July 21, 2022 at 10:39 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More people living with mental-health and addictions challenges in Greater Victoria will be able to access free local counselling services because of a new provincial investment.

The Government of B.C. is investing $115,000 in funding for Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Society to continue supporting community-based counselling and addictions services for adults dealing with challenges, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss. These support services are run by volunteer counsellors and are overseen by one clinical counsellor.

“I am grateful to the Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Society, which provides life-changing mental-health supports to people and families in their community,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With support from the Province, people in Esquimalt who make the courageous decision to reach out for help are met with the support they need and deserve.”

This funding builds on the $19 million that government has invested to support low- and no-cost community counselling programs around B.C., and will ensure more people can access mental-health and supportive counselling services for adults.

“Since the onset of COVID-19, demand for our community-based counselling service has doubled,” said Mary Lynn McKenna, executive director, Esquimalt Neighbourhood House. “Without the support of our incredible volunteer counsellors, we would not have been able to keep up with the demand. We are grateful to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions for continuing to support our Adult Mental Health Counselling Service”.

Enhancing mental health supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building the comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that British Columbians deserve.


Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin –

“I am pleased that people in our community will continue to have access to the vital counselling services provided by the Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Society. With the pandemic, the toxic drug crisis and other stressors, counselling is in great demand and can make an important difference in peoples lives.”

Julia D., volunteer counsellor, Esquimalt Neighbourhood House –

“Community members are seeking support for what they face every day, from housing and food scarcity to employment, mental-health and interpersonal challenges. Counselling offers folks a chance to share their experience and feel less alone, and explore ways of getting through.” 

A client of Esquimalt Neighbourhood House –

“You have no idea how much you have helped me. Your encouragement has enabled me to go visit my dad and reconnect with family and friends. It has helped me to walk on the grass and breathe in the air. I shall try my level best. I am so grateful for all your help. I can’t thank you enough.”

Another client of Esquimalt Neighbourhood House –

“I really appreciate the support Esquimalt Neighborhood House has given me over the past eight months. That was the hardest time of my life. It’s not just one difficult experience. A bunch of troubles came at once. I had no clue what life should be like. I was in a state of severe trauma. At the end of eight months, I have reached a safe place.”

Learn More:

Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Society: https://www.enh.bc.ca/

Learn about A Pathway to Hope, our government’s vision for mental health and addictions care in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787

Low- and no-cost mental health supports: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19mentalhealthsupports

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