Esquimalt Neighbourhood House is now offering a grief support group once a month. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Grief support now available thorough Esquimalt Neighbourhood House

Need is great, particularly with youth suicide and overdose deaths

Esquimalt Neighbourhood House is expanding its counselling services with the creation of a monthly grief support group.

The community service provider offers support and programs for residents of all ages in Greater Victoria, particularly in Esquimalt.

“It’s a pretty essential service,” says Brenda Macevicius, head of counselling services. “I’d describe it as a community based mental health and addictions program.”

Morag Martin, a volunteer counsellor with Esquimalt Neighbourhood House for more than a decade, will facilitate the group. The goal is to broaden the reach of those who struggle with grief, and not relegate loss as something that only happens at end of life.

“There’s a huge need from what we hear,” Macevicius says. “We hear a lot about someone who has lost someone to suicide or overdose, a lot of youth. There is a profound impact on a person when someone dies. I don’t think there’s a lot of support to capture just how significant it is.”

Referrals from Island Health, doctors, psychiatrists and other community service providers keep the 40 volunteer counsellors busy at the Neighbourhood House.

“Our program is hugely unique in that we seek out funding so we can offer the service for free,” Macevicius explains.

Longstanding support from United Way, the provincial employees community services fund, the municipality of Esquimalt, local businesses and private and personal donations keep the program running. As of this year, the Victoria Foundation will also help maintain services with community grants.

Their approach is to steer away from traditional medical model of burdening someone with questions and paperwork, and is more about building a trusted relationship so people are comfortable sharing their struggles and returning for long-term support.

“People really do need to have these supports, to be seen and heard as a whole human being,” Macevicius says. “You really want to protect people’s hearts a little bit, and go gently.”

For more information about programs and services at Esquimalt Neighbourhood House, visit their Facebook page.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Talk of legalizing secondary suites stokes debate in Oak Bay

Motion to move ahead on secondary suites hits council next week

Nitwits, Touts and Oak Bay Council

Oak Bay Heritage hosts lecture on Memoirs of George Murdoch

Tsunami 101 on course for UVic

Oak Bay, Saanich, university partner to present info session Feb. 28

Oak Bay Heritage Day honours cultural history

Crowds turn out to explore gems from Oak Bay Archives

Oak Bay Heritage Day honours cultural history

Crowds turn out to explore gems from Oak Bay Archives

BC Wine Institute to take legal action against Alberta

The BC Wine Institute to seek injunction to protect B.C. wineries from Alberta wine ban

BC BUDGET: Tobacco tax hike may light up black market in smokes

NDP government adds another 56 cents per pack as of April 1

4 treatment centres to open in memory of B.C. teen who died of an overdose

A treatment centre for addictions is opening in Penticton after the first one fell through

Snow in the forecast for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is calling for up to four centimetres of snow to fall Wednesday

BCHL Today: Merritt peaking at right time and Taylor signs with UNH Wildcats

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

VIJHL playoffs: Cougars look to pounce on Coutre and the Wolves

Hockey series a rematch from last season’s opening round

Braves shutout Islanders to take Game 1 of playoffs

Braves return to Pearkes Friday night for Game 3

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

Most Read