South Island Counselling director of administration Stacey Cronin, and acting director of clinical services Richard Sayad encourage residents to seek mental health care, as global and personal events weigh heavier than ever before. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Saanich counselling centre sees uptick in demand before back-to-school

Many experiencing fear and anxiety about personal, global issues

  • Sep. 14, 2021 12:00 a.m.

South Island Counselling in Saanich is seeing an upswing in demand for mental health services amid back-to-school season.

Anxieties are high due to key themes such as fear about being in group settings again, climate change and the upcoming federal election – all of which are creating a sense of stress and even dread, said Richard Sayad, acting director of clinical services.

“What I’m finding is the same issues that have always been there have just been exacerbated by all of the uncertainty,” he said.

Stacey Cronin, the office’s director of administration, said they’re seeing an uptick in applications overall. Normally the counselling centre has approximately 25 to 30 clients, but they currently have 90 people, many of whom could be waiting three months or more for affordable mental health care.

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“There is no shortage of counsellors in Victoria – the shortage is on the affordable end because everyone can benefit from mental health services,” Sayad said.

The centre uses a sliding scale to charge people based on income, which helps remove potential financial barriers. The services are offered to all individuals, children, youth and families needing personal, relational and spiritual wellness and counsellors will be matched as closely as possible.

To learn more visit or call 250-472-2851.

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