A local non-profit will once again be able to offer substance-use counselling after securing provincial funding.
Kamloops’ Family Tree Family Centre is one of 29 organizations across B.C. that have been awarded a community counselling grant from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and the Ministry of Health.
The centre has received $98,000 in funding for three years that will enable it to hire a full-time substance-use counsellor, who will work out of the centre’s office on Seymour Street.
Part of the funding will be set aside to help reduce barriers to accessing services, such as covering transportation costs and providing on-site child minding.
The centre previously had two substance-use counsellors who worked part-time, but both are now retired. That left a counselling gap at Family Tree earlier this year.
The new full-time position will enable the centre to formalize and expand on its substance-use counselling, according to Susan Wright, executive director of the Family Tree Family Centre.
“Instead of having someone available one day a week we’ll have someone available five days a week,” Wright said.
Family Tree is currently searching for the new hire, which couldn’t come at a better time as the organization recently expanded its hours of operation and became a formal pregnancy outreach program.
In January, the centre is slated to start a recovery and life-skills program, focusing on new parents and pregnant mothers affected by substance abuse. That program, Wright said, will benefit from having a full-time substance-use counsellor.
“It’s going to be a huge benefit to us,” Wright said.
A big portion of Family Tree Family Centre’s clientelle are mothers who are struggling with poverty, mental health, substance use, violence, trauma, grief and loss.
“At Family Tree what we’re trying to do is create a safe environment for moms to seek service,” said Wright.
Having the new position gives their clientele — who often visit multiple times a week during times of crisis — instant access to counselling services on a daily basis, Wright noted.
“Having that connection to peers and to professionals for six to seven hours a day helps increase their capacity and keep them safe and helps increase their outcomes,” Wright said.
Up to $120,000 per year, for three years, was awarded through the community counselling grants program, administered by Community Action Initiative.
Funding supports organizations to address gaps in the mental health and substance use continuum of care by creating multiple entry points to much-needed services, stated a press release from Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.