Two local Foundations commit $295,000 to support mental health counselling

Thunder Bay, ON, March 27, 2017 – The Paterson Foundation and the John Andrews Foundation have announced commitments of $295,000 to support improved access to mental health counselling for low-income individuals and families in Thunder Bay over the next 5 years.

The two Foundations are jointly providing funds to Thunder Bay Counselling to enable the not-for-profit organization to deliver much needed counselling and support to those who are unable to pay for services. The Paterson Foundation is contributing $50,000 a year to 2020, in addition to $25,000 already provided for a total of $275,000, and the John Andrews Foundation is providing $20,000 this year to the collaborative initiative.

“We’re thrilled to have developed this new partnership with the Paterson Foundation and John Andrews Foundation, and we are committed to providing more access to psychosocial counselling services to help low-income individuals and families overcome barriers,” says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling. “This new project will have a lasting impact on how people access mental health services locally and ensure they receive what they need when they need it most.”

According to the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.  Other important facts are:

  • Major depression impacts 8% of people
  • Anxiety disorder impacts 12%.
  • People in the lowest income group are 3 – 4 times more likely than those in the highest income group to report fair to poor mental health.
  • Only 33% of people who need mental health services actually receive them and family doctors ranked access to psychiatrists in Ontario as fair to poor.

According to the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy 2011, Thunder Bay struggles with a higher than average rate of drinking, binge drinking, violent crime and various chronic diseases and injuries, along with other social and medical problems .

“The lack of prevention and outreach services, and long wait times are just some of the challenges facing our community, ” continues Nancy Chamberlain.  “Thunder Bay Counselling  wants to reduce the stigma related to mental health, ensure people are aware of where they can get help, and provide quick access to psychosocial counselling for people when they do reach out, regardless of their ability to pay.

Says Alexander M.S. Paterson, Secretary-Treasurer of The Paterson Foundation and President of the John Andrew’s Foundation; “Mental health challenges are everywhere in our society and it is evident that there are not enough resources available to those who need help in Thunder Bay. The Paterson Foundation is supporting Thunder Bay Counselling to deliver psychosocial counselling services with the hope that we can alleviate some of the need in Thunder Bay, as well as provide more evidence to Ontario that increased mental health care resources will have an impact in our community.”

The focus of psychosocial counselling is to assist people to address mental health challenges through a strength based approach which draws on an individual’s inherent motivation, strengths and capabilities.


Note to Editors:

For more detailed information on the funding announcement, media interviews are available.