The Government of Saskatchewan is set to provide $1.498 million in additional funding to Family Services Saskatchewan (FSSK), for the purpose of expanding access to free, rapid counselling to the southern and west central regions of the province.

"Mental health and addictions is serious across all of our communities in Saskatchewan, not just our cities,” said Greg Lawrence, MLA for Moose Jaw Wakamow. “So it's very important to have easy access or easier access to these for all our families.”

The services will be based in Moose Jaw and Kindersley with plans to expand into several small communities including Gravelbourg, Assiniboia, Biggar, Leader, Rosetown, and Unity.

“The expansion is part of our commitment to address mental health issues in our province with the ability to connect people with dignity and health services,” Lawrence explained.

Shellie Pociuk, FSSK board member and CEO of Family Service Regina, said increasing accessibility for counselling services is absolutely crucial.

"When somebody makes that brave choice to reach out and ask for help that they have that help immediately available to them is huge,” said Pociuk.

She added that the program is already making a difference in the community.

“You can wander (in) and get a feel for the safe space, and then you can see if there's availability with the clinician or the counselor at that moment,” Pociuk said.

“Or you can just get comfortable with the space and come back the next day.”

The program is available for individuals, couples, and families needing support with mental health challenges. Ranging from stress and depression to family conflict, addictions and domestic violence.

A total of 23 communities have been offering counselling services since 2019-2020 including:

  • Battleford
  • Estevan
  • Humboldt
  • Indian Head
  • Kamsack
  • Kelvington
  • Melfort
  • Nipawin
  • North Battleford
  • Prince Albert
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
  • Southey
  • Swift Current
  • Tisdale
  • Weyburn
  • Wynyard
  • Yorkton

With the expansion, there is set to be a total of 31 communities receiving walk-in mental health counselling services as part of the FSSK program.