Thunder Bay Organizations Shift Services to Provide
Talk-In and Video Counselling Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Thunder Bay, ON, April 20, 2020– Staying at home, doesn’t mean you’re alone. Thunder Bay Counselling and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay are now providing Talk-In; phone and video counselling supports in the city. As mental health and addiction services continue to be in high demand, this new option is an adaptation of our traditional Walk-In Counselling Clinic, which now provides quick and easy access to a counsellor, five days a week.
“Our teams wanted to ensure we could connect with those that need support throughout the pandemic, so this is an extension of the walk-in counselling services that we have been offering in the community for over a decade,” says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling. “People are experiencing many challenges as we face COVID-19, such as financial concerns, parenting, caregiving and relationship issues, domestic violence and substance use. There is day-to-day sadness, confusion, depression, anxiety and emotional exhaustion arising as a result. Whether it’s the overall uncertainty of working from home, unemployment, fear, or being in isolation, this is adding stress and taking a toll on everyone’s mental health. Our counsellors are aware of these issues and are here to help.”
The Talk-In Clinic provided by Thunder Bay Counselling and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is free and is accessible by calling (807) 700-0090. Single session counselling is offered Monday to Friday, with available times found at tbaycounselling.com and childrenscentre.ca. In-person sessions can be offered on a case by case basis.
“The mental health implications of this unprecedented situation will impact everyone’s wellness differently, and that is okay. Reaching out for help when you need it is one way to ensure that you and your family are supported through this difficult time. Sharing your thoughts and worries with a counsellor can help to alleviate some of your stresses and feelings, and provide you with support, understanding and potential resources,” says Diane Walker, CEO of Children’s Centre Thunder Bay.
When a person calls in to the clinic, they provide some quick information and will then be connected to a counsellor for phone or video counselling. For many individuals, this is a safe and comfortable experience, as they are more at ease, getting support from their own home in their time of need.
T- (807) 628-7109
Thunder Bay Counselling is committed to supporting our community. The health and wellbeing of our clients, staff and community have been and will remain our top priority. While the COVID-19 virus presents changes and challenges, all our counselling and support services will continue to support the needs of our community. Although we are not available to provide service face to face, we are prepared and pleased to provide support remotely through technology (phone, video calls, etc.). We continue to work to keep Thunder Bay well.
We understand that during this time mental health and wellness will be impacted and our services continue to be available to help those in need of support.
To access services, call (807) 684-1880, our EAP line, or your counsellor/worker.
Service hours continue to be 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday – Friday. We will provide service updates on all social media and our website.
Groups, drop-in services and training events have been paused until further notice.
Thunder Bay Counselling is Leading Provincial Work on Critical Opioids Issues
Local agency is leading the Ontario Opioids Case Managers Network and hosting provincial conference in Toronto this week.
Thursday November 20, 2019, Thunder Bay, Ontario: – Earlier this year, Public Health Ontario reported that Thunder Bay and its surrounding area has the highest per-capita accidental opioid overdose death rate in the province, at 22.7 per 100,000 people. With data showing a steady increase in opioid use and opioid related harms, the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network plays a critical role in connecting, training and supporting Opioid Case Managers across the Province.
Thunder Bay Counselling is the lead agency for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network, which represents 27 agencies who are serving patients in Ontario. Acting as a liaison and professional development lead, Thunder Bay Counselling is working directly with network partners and dozens of Opioid Case Managers to facilitate provincial discussions and explore sector-led solutions on the opioid crisis.
This week, Thunder Bay Counselling is also hosting a Provincial Opioid Case Managers Network Conference in Toronto. The conference runs November 20th – Friday 22nd and will address current challenges and updates including: Opiate Use Disorder in Primary Care, Provincial Opioid Results & Roundtable Discussions, and Human Trafficking.
Kris Carlson, a specialized Youth-In-Transition Worker with Thunder Bay Counselling, is hosting a full day of peer learning on Human Trafficking, and providing vital information on topics such as the stages of exploitation, understanding trafficking, warning signs and vulnerability factors, psychology of traffickers, engagement strategies for client and potential clients, and self-reflection about how Opioid Case Managers practice. In her role in Thunder Bay, Kris helps to prevent the trafficking of youth leaving care who may be targeted by human traffickers.
Says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling: “Thunder Bay Counselling is committed to improving services to individuals struggling with opioid use and addiction, which is of particular importance to Thunder Bay and northern Ontario communities. Considering the level of opioid use in our region, it is important that Thunder Bay Counselling is the provincial lead for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network. We are invested in working together for solutions to the epidemic facing our communities.”
According to recent studies, one in eight people in Ontario received an opioid for chronic non-cancer related pain in 2016. There has also been a steady increase reported in opioid-related harms in Ontario for more than a decade; more than 1,450 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2018.
Thunder Bay Counselling announces that over 9,200 low-income children in Thunder Bay are eligible for a Canada Learning Bond.
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Friday November 8th, 2019: – November is Financial Literacy Month. To celebrate, Thunder Bay Counselling has announced a series of free community events to help local people access new programs and improve their financial well-being.
According to Thunder Bay Counselling over 9,200 children in Thunder Bay are eligible for a Canada Learning Bond. The Canada Learning Bond is money that the Government of Canada adds to a RESP for eligible children from low‑income families born in 2004 or later.
Says Sheri Fata, Manager of Financial and Child/Youth Services at Thunder Bay Counselling: “We hear more every day about poverty and the financial struggles facing low-income and working families in Thunder Bay. Finding money to save for a child’s education often seems impossible for those who are struggling to make basic ends meet. There is evidence that having even a small amount of money set aside for a child’s post-secondary education and training increases the likelihood that they will pursue options beyond high school. That’s why we are hosting Education Savings Day.”
Education Savings Day is an all-day Canada Learning Bond and RESP information and sign-up event that will take place on November 19th at Thunder Bay Counselling. The event runs from 9AM-8PM and welcomes families and children.
Continues Fata: “We want to support parents, guardians, grandparents, or anyone who is interested, to access the information they need around Registered Education Savings Plans and Canada Learning Bond. It’s our goal to ensure that as many eligible child ren as possible are enrolled in RESP’s to ensure they receive up to $2,000 for their future education expenses.”
Credit Education Week also takes places during Financial Literacy Month. Thunder Bay Counselling is hosting two free workshops on Mindfulness & Money at Thunder Bay Public Library. The workshops encourage people to set and achieve a money vision through visualization, reduced anxiety and focus on reaching their financial goals. Thunder Bay Counselling is also launching its first Drop-In Financial Counselling service this month, which will be then offered every Tuesday from 12-4PM.
Studies show that almost 1/3 of us feel stressed about money regularly and ¼ of us are experiencing significant financial hardship. Millennials are particularly worried about money and debt, and consumer debt in this demographic recently hit a new high.
Continues Fata: “The statistics around Canadian debt levels and spending habits are scary, and they get worse year over year. Thunder Bay Counselling is offering free community workshops and Drop-in Financial Counselling to ensure that people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds have access to impartial and unbiased advice about their financial decisions when they need it. Our financial counsellors are here to help reduce stress and assist people to find options to meet their financial goals.”
The public is invited to attend the following FREE events offered by Thunder Bay Counselling throughout the month of November.
Credit Education Week
Mindfulness & Money Workshops – November 12th & 14th
– Tuesday November 12th at Brodie Street Library. 12:00 Noon – 1:30 PM
– Thursday November 14th at Waverly Resource Library. 12: 00 Noon – 2:00 PM
Education Savings Day – November 19th
All Day RESP or Canada Learning Bond Information and Sign-Up Event
Thunder Bay Counselling, 544 Winnipeg Avenue
Drop-In Financial Counselling – Starting November 26th
Thunder Bay, Ontario, August 9, 2019 – Thunder Bay’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic (RAAM Clinic) was recently awarded a Transformative Change Award 2019 by the Alliance for Healthier Communities at a national Community Health Connections conference in Ottawa.
The RAAM Clinic is a collaboration of seven community partners providing addictions medicine and client supports for individuals with substance use issues. Launched in 2018, the RAAM Clinic aims to tackle Thunder Bay’s elevated rates of opioid and alcohol abuse, and support overdose prevention as a community-wide effort.
The RAAM Clinic is offered through two main sites in Thunder Bay at NorWest Community Health Centres and St. Joseph’s Care Group’s Balmoral Centre. Individuals aged 16 years and over can access services at any time through health care provider referral or without an appointment as a self-referral or on a walk-in basis.
Says Juanita Lawson, CEO of NorWest Community Health Centres; “There are several clinical and service features that make the RAAM Clinic transformative. As a group of community partners, our goal was to design a service model that would be accessible, barrier free and relevant to people living with addictions. We are honoured to have been recognized by our peers for this innovative work.”
The Transformative Change Awards celebrate exceptional organizations whose innovative projects improve the health and well-being of people in our communities who face barriers to health.
Says Nancy Chamberlain, CEO of Thunder Bay Counselling: “The RAAM Clinic is about breaking down walls and focusing efforts on what people struggling with addictions really need. Evidence shows us that timely access to treatment and peer support from individuals with lived addictions experience are two key essential factors. Thunder Bay Counselling is proud to part of this collaborative community model to provider faster and better access to addictions services in Thunder Bay.”
Says Nancy Black, Vice President, Addictions & Mental Health at St. Joseph’s Care Group; “The RAAM Clinic is a welcoming and safe space where individuals who are struggling with addictions can receive medical treatment, counselling and peer support. This community collaboration supports client centred care by focusing on personal goals and individual needs.”
The RAAM Clinic is a collaboration of the following organizations: St Joseph’s Care Group (RAAM Clinic site), NorWest Community Health Centres (RAAM Clinic site), Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, People Advocating for Change through Empowerment, Thunder Bay Counselling, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Thunder Bay Drug Strategy.
June 20, 2019 – Thunder Bay Counselling recently welcomed external peer reviews from two independent Canadian bodies; the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA) and Credit Counselling Canada. As a result of the evaluations, Thunder Bay Counselling is delighted to announce that it has achieved full accreditation from both organizations.
The Canadian Centre for Accreditation is an independent non-profit offering accreditation specifically tailored to community-based health and social services across Canada. Thunder Bay Counselling received full accreditation for best practices in Organizational Standards, Family Counselling and Groups Standards, Employee Assistance Service Provision, Contract Management Standards, Community Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Says Nelson Sidorski, Board Chair of Thunder Bay Counselling: “To be CCA Accredited is truly a seal of approval for quality excellence. Our stakeholders can be assured that we have undergone an extensive internal and external review process that measures our practices against sector and industry standards. This is assurance of our commitment to delivering maximum quality, value and accountability to our clients and the community.”
The Credit Counselling Canada Accreditation Program ensures a high quality of credit counselling services nationally for consumers and partners. Receiving accreditation acknowledges Thunder Bay Counselling’s best practises in delivering community-based credit counselling services.
Says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling: “Our Board of Directors sees accreditation as a way to externally monitor our organization and a means to identify opportunities to improve the quality of services we provide to individuals, families, workplaces and communities. Being Accredited allows us to demonstrate our accomplishments at not only an operational level but also in our business management and community governance. With increasing pressure for public accountability, participation in the accreditation process promotes a quality and safety culture across the organization.”
Thunder Bay Counselling announced its double accreditation achievements today during its Annual General Meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate its organizational culture of service excellence through continuous improvement, as well as showcase leading practices and celebrate the great work of Thunder Bay Counselling staff.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – Thunder Bay Counselling announced today it needs volunteer mentors to help positively change the lives of young people. Twenty-five people are urgently needed to be mentors to youth for their upcoming CHOICES program.
The CHOICES program is designed specifically to provide youth aged 12-17 with healthy coping strategies. Mentors participate once a week for ten weeks, supporting youth in a group setting to think and act positively, and feel more confident to choose the right direction in life. Programs are offered in both school and community settings. Most importantly, it provides youth with an opportunity to talk openly about their concerns and worries in a safe environment.
People of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages, sexual orientation, gender identities are wanted to talk about and explore issues such as: self-respect, goal setting, decision-making, relationships and social media.
“We cannot run the CHOICES program without volunteer mentors,” says Pia Heikkinen, CHOICES Coordinator. “We are looking for people from all walks of life who can give their time to our community’s youth for a few hours during the day or in the evening. It’s amazing to see how inspired the youth are after attending these sessions and how proud they are when they graduate the program.”
CHOICES programs will run during the following time periods:
Tuesdays, October 2nd – December 4th: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm (School Program)
Wednesdays, October 3rd – December 5th: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm (School Program)
Thursdays, October 4th – December 6th: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Community Program)
CHOICES program mentors are provided with mandatory orientation and training prior to the program start. Volunteer mentors must be 19 years of age or older and be able to attend the one-day training Saturday, September 22nd, 9 am to 5 pm.
Governance Training Session
Wednesdays – in October, November, January, March, May
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Insight on Memorial (594 Memorial Avenue)
Presented by: Diane Walker, MSW, RSW, PhD
Single Session: $75 per person
Full Series: $300 per person
October 10, 2018 – Orientation to Good Governance (Principles of Good Governance – Quality = Outcomes, Authority, Accountability)
November 21, 2018 – Governance – Policy in Action (Monitoring and Managing Organizational Performance, CEO Board Relationship, CEO Performance Reviews, Board Performance)
January 16, 2019 – Governance and the Strategic Plan – (balancing outcomes with strategy in the pursuit of sustainable excellence)
March 20, 2019 – Governing for Quality Services – (How to govern for quality without getting into operations )
May 8, 2019 – Risk Governance – (protecting and sustaining organizational capacity in both governance and operations)
Thunder Bay Counselling was thrilled to once again participate in the United Way’s Annual Great Billboard Rescue on May 17th 2018. This year’s event raised $90,000 that will help to fund programs and services at 30 local agencies. Many thanks to our supporters and everyone who donated to the Great Billboard Rescue. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated!