Local News

Harriston mental health clinic set to close

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo from: Google Maps Screenshot

A lifesaving same-day mental health clinic will soon be closing to residents in Harriston and the surrounding Town of Minto.

Family Counselling Support Services for Guelph-Wellington (FCSSGW) received a grant from United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin to open the clinic in June of last year.

The grant through the Emergency Community Support Fund made the 100 per cent fully funded same-day support possible.

Unfortunately, that grant money will run dry on March 31, 2021.

Joanne Young Evans, executive director for FCSSGW said the funding they received helped them run not only a walk-in clinic out of the LaunchIt Minto building, but also brief therapy.

“Most individuals that we see can be helped anywhere between two and four sessions, so the funding that we received gave us not only the walk-in piece, which is a single session, but then gave follow-up sessions that were 100 per cent funded,” Young Evans said.

Young Evans said the grant was extremely helpful in Harriston and the surrounding area because of the severity of issues people were dealing with.

“From stress, anxiety, depression, the majority of clients who connected with the service were experiencing what we would call, serious occurrences, and that was thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide, and or self-harm,” Young Evans said softly.

She said although after March 31, Harriston and area residents will be able to access free same-day mental health clinics that run Mondays in Mount Forest and Thursdays in Fergus, there is still a need for a permanent clinic in the Harriston area.

“Transportation is an issue within our community, rural isolation is an issue in our community, Mount Forest is a drive for people to go, and virtual just doesn’t work for everybody because of internet problems or because of issues in the home, and they really need to see someone face-to-face, and that’s why the clinic is so important,” Young Evans said.

Young Evans said they need to continue to offer this clinic in Harriston, but the only way that they’re going to be able to do that is to receive base funding or a significant donation in order to continue the programming.