WELLINGTON COUNTY – Officials say permanent mental health clinics in Fergus and Mount Forest will help address the “mental health crisis” in Wellington County.
Opened in mid-February by Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington (FCSS) thanks to one-time government funding, the same-day service clinics were set to close this spring.
But thanks to increased base funding from the provincial government, via the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the Fergus and Mount Forest clinics will become permanent fixtures in those communities.
“Wellington County is in a mental health crisis, and [FCSS] is busier than ever,” executive director Joanne Young Evans stated in a press release.
She told the Advertiser 40 per cent of clients using the Guelph mental health clinic are dealing with “critical incidents of self-harm and suicidal ideation,” while the figure at the two Wellington clinics is just below that level.
“We know there’s a wait list for mental health services across the county,” said Young Evans, adding that with longer waits comes an increased chance of escalation to a more serious situation.
“Mental health issues can escalate quickly and having access to early intervention, same-day services from expert therapists means clients can expect to leave the clinics with an action plan and hope,” she stated.
Young Evans explained there is an intake worker and psychotherapist at each clinic.
Clients “actually walk out with a handwritten plan,” following a 50-minute consultation, she said.
The Mount Forest clinic will continue to run Mondays from 10:30am to 6pm at the Mount Forest Family Health Team (Claire Stewart Clinic). Clients can call 519-824-2431, ext. 36 starting at 9am to get a same-day appointment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fergus clinic runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 7pm at Centre Wellington District High School; no appointment necessary.
Young Evans said the Fergus clinic will be moving at the end of June, but FCSS will provide more information at a later date.
Going forward, Young Evans remains hopeful FCSS can bring clinics to more communities in Wellington, including Drayton and Erin.