Beacon Community Services has programs and services for every age and phase of life, and that includes mental health supports.
“Beacon is a broadly ranged organization in general, even outside of the realm of mental wellness,” said Kerry Readshaw, director of communications for Beacon Community Services. She listed off programs for every age group “from prenatal assistance in our Peninsula Babies program right through to palliative care and every stage of life in between, so we run the gamut similarly on mental health support.”
For young people, Readshaw said there are increasing anxiety levels among young teens because of social media, something parents or grandparents did not grow up with. To address this, Beacon will sometimes partner with schools. Readshaw mentioned a recent six to eight-week workshop for girls dealing with anxiety. Readshaw said they offer facilitated guidance “just to help address youth mental well being and emotional wellness, recognizing that it lays a foundation to have the skills going forward into adulthood”
For older people, Readshaw said there are many supports for aging well on the Peninsula, but it can also be a time of significant change. Clients could be transitioning from working full-time to retirement, or dealing with changing health needs. Others could be grieving from the death of friends, spouses, or close family members.
Grief, depending on a person’s life situation, can affect people of all ages, and Beacon has counselors that work “to respect and honour what they’re going through but also help them work through feelings associated with that,” said Readshaw.
Most of Beacon’s counseling services are sliding scale and based on income level, with office space in Sidney that is booked ahead of time in most cases. The type of support depends on a person’s needs through assessment and counseling.
“Some people might find that they’re just looking for assistance with a distinct issue over a short period of time. Others might benefit from longer term support,” said Readshaw.
Beacon also has volunteer programs that provide free support in other ways. One is a friendly visitor program for people who feel isolated for any reason. Volunteers will visit clients at home so they can establish common interests and eventually a long term bond. It’s not directly related to people with mental health issues, bur Readshaw said that these informal supports and social connections can support mental wellness.
Beacon also offers workshops and supports for groups. The SHOAL Centre offers programs for managing stress and they also help caregivers who feel overwhelmed when assisting their aging clients.
For more information, visit beaconcs.ca.