Breslau is now home to a new counselling space.
The Woolwich Counselling Centre board saw a need to expand to physical spaces throughout the township. Having started in Wellesley, as of last month they’ve opened a Breslau location.
Breslau was identified in the organization’s strategic plan, said Amanda Wood-Atkinson, the executive director of the organization. She said it took three years to get to the point of opening up a new space in the village.
“We’ve been looking at the growth that we’ve experienced as an agency and doing some planning into the future, recognizing that there’s more growth predicted for this township. Breslau is part of Woolwich Township, and that’s an area that has been growing quite a bit and so we really wanted to make sure that we could be a physical presence in that area as well to be able to serve the needs of residents across Woolwich Township,” said Wood-Atkinson.
To open the space, the team needed to find a partner already in place to work with. The centre is using office space from Achieve Balance, a wellness business in the area.
Counselling appointments are open to anyone, and the office operates on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. one week, and then 12 -8 p.m. the next. Two counsellors are trading off Thursdays, each with different specialties.
The payment model is the same as the rest of Woolwich Counselling Services, a sliding scale depending on family income.
Wood-Atkinson says that mental health needs are increasing, that more people are seeking it out, and the centre has seen a growth of seven percent from this year to last in the number of clients seen.
“It helps to recognize that there are supports within your community and that you can see that they’re available, that they’re accessible physically, that they’re accessible financially, and that they’re rooted locally right here within your own community,” she said. “It’s been important to us to realize that mental health needs are increasing, but the stigma of accessing support is also coming down. We feel that it’s important to be present in our community and visible.”
Nadine Bengert is one of the counsellors who is working from the Breslau space. She says the area is very underserved when it comes to mental health facilities. Some of her pre-existing clients she’s been meeting with are from Breslau and appreciate the chance to meet in person, she said, adding people are still dealing with ramifications from COVID, and expects they will for a long time.
“I’m really glad that we were able to find a satellite in that area because it’s very underserved,” said Bengert. She says having a counselling space available right in the village will be a big help to Breslau residents who need to drive or have virtual appointments.
“There aren’t counselling options available in Breslau. There’s not a lot of services in Breslau,” she said.
Wood-Atkinson says the location is ideal because it’s close to the public school and bus stop, so it is accessible for families.
The services are available to anyone in the community, prioritizing people with Breslau addresses. To book, clients can call the main office to make an appointment and specify that they want an appointment in Breslau.
Other activities the organization is working on in the town include a seniors group called “Coping with Worries,” and two already running children’s groups in partnership with Breslau Public School called “No Need to Fret” and “Connecting Mind and Body.”
“There’s always space and room to build and grow our capacity to identify, regulate, express emotions and build relationships. There’s always a place for that. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how young you are. All of us can benefit from this work,” said Bengert.