Supporting Children’s Mental Health

The Cause

Calgary Counselling Centre is leading the way in helping children and youth to adapt, learn skills and use new interventions to cope with changes and challenges in their lives.

The Centre has grown to be a recognized leader in the treatment of children's programs, family violence, depression, eating disorders, research, training, and education. We are committed to providing mental health counselling, barrier-free to all and therefore operate on a sliding fee scale, providing financial subsidies to those who would otherwise not be able to afford services. In 2016 the cost of subsidizing counselling grew to $1,479,753 from $1,142, 984 in 2014. This is a 30% increase in cost since 2014. The impact on cost from 2015 to 2016 is +9% or $123,237.

With your investment, we will enable economically disadvantaged families to seek support for their children’s mental health. Last year, 60% of the Centre’s clients could not afford the full cost of services. With support from community donors and partners, we are investing in children’s well-being, their future and the future of our communities. Today, we are seeking funding for our specialized group program Responsible Choices for Children and Parents - a priority children’s mental health programs offered within our community.

The Responsible Choices for Children and Parents program was established to provide solutions for children between the ages of 3 and 17 who experience social and behavioural problems at home, at school or in the community. Problems can include bullying, aggressive behaviour, difficulties socializing, depression or anxiety. Due to the intensity of the issues, smaller age appropriate group sizes are tailored to individual child needs. Interventions with children are based on developing problem solving skills as well as treating underlying related problems using a play therapy or individual therapy approach. Play is how children express themselves and where they are able to “play out” their feelings and problems. Parents or caregivers are required to attend a separate group that runs concurrently to the child groups. This program is the only treatment program in Calgary that offers such a specialized service, directed at both parents/caregivers and children.

Who Will it Benefit?

Children and youth, aged 3-17 in Southern Alberta who are experiencing mental health issues will benefit from this funding.

The youth of Alberta facing emotional struggles come from all walks of life and face difficult situations such as school pressures, work-related stress, bullying, eating disorders, depression, family and relationship conflicts, or grieving the loss of a loved one. They may feel overwhelmed by day-to-day life struggles and are more easily set back by life's challenges. When left untreated, emotional, social and mental health problems often progress into situations that become debilitating and at times life threatening. Suicide is the leading cause of death in males aged 10 to 49. The prevalence of depression in teenage girls has tripled in the last 20 years. On average, four to eight teenagers are depressed in every Calgary classroom, yet only one or two are getting help.

The Centre has seen an increase in children and their families who cannot afford access to mental health services due to limited financial resources, as well as families who are experiencing long wait times, sometimes exceeding 10 weeks. Calgary Counselling Centre has worked hard to not have a wait list for over 15 years. This ensures that those who need help can access it immediately. We ensure clients receive a confirmed appointment with a therapist by noon following the day they call to request service – regardless of their ability to pay.

For children and youth, Responsible Choices for Children and Parents has been shown to improve communication, increase self-esteem, create a more positive mood, and increase their ability to experience pleasure from normal life events.