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The Issue: Mental Health & addictions

Sudden job loss, grief, or other trauma can take a major toll on anyone. Ability to access crucial supports is that much harder for marginalized members of community such as for those experiencing poverty, racism or homophobia. Funding ensures that anyone who needs crisis supports, like counselling, receives it. It also helps address wait lists that have become much longer in recent years, so that those who need the support can get it in a timely manner.

Mental Health & Addictions

How we help

Dollars Distributed
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people helped
Number of grants awarded

United Way WRC funding ensures that individuals and families who need support, like counselling or crisis referrals, receive it. It also helps address wait lists that have become much longer in recent years, so that those who need the support can get it in a timely manner. United Way WRC Investments in 2022 include programming that addresses:

  1. One to one & group counselling (including: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health (prev. Carizon, KW Counselling); Porchlight Counselling & Addictions Services; Interfaith Counselling Centre; Shalom Counselling Services)
  2. Specialized supports for addressing trauma (Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (Supports for survivors of sexual violence from diverse communities in the post #MeToo and COVID-19 Eras); Bereaved Families of Ontario; Sanguen Health Centre Foundation, YWCA Cambridge)
  3. Culturally appropriate services and supports (Muslim Social Services of Waterloo Region, Peace for All Canada)
  4. Prevention & Education (SHORE Centre)

Mental Health & Addictions

Your Impact

The following are examples of impact of your donations from funded organizations and their programs.

  • YWCA – 1200 young people accessed programming in the last 6 months. The YWCA of Cambridge aims to create a safer community by advocating for those experiencing gender-based violence and the needs of cis and trans women and girls, gender-diverse and Two-Spirit people.
  • Camino Mental Health + Wellbeing – Of the 1111 individuals and families accessing mental health supports in the last 6 months, 90% had a household income of $40,000 or less.
  • Porchlight Counselling & Addictions Services – As a result of funding, the waitlist for services was reduced from 6 months to 3 months.
  • Shalom Counselling Services – 2750 counselling sessions delivered by Shalom Counselling Services, during the last 6 months
  • “An investment of this size had a significant impact on our organization…It meant we could support children and families impacted by overdose, suicide and other sudden deaths. It meant we could create spaces for parents to come together to honour their children and their grief, and learn from their peers. It meant we could invest time into educating the community about grief so it isn’t a lonely and isolating experience for so many.” – Bereaved Families of Ontario
  • “Our organization has been thankful to see increased investment from the United Way in fiscal year 2022-2023. This allowed us to reduce out waitlist from 6 to 3 months, maintain our addictions staffing, and keep doing the important work we are doing.” – Porchlight Counselling & Addiction Services
  • “Due to increased demand, without the funding we received it would be very likely for survivors to languish on the waitlist for 1-2 years. Funding provides SASC with the opportunity to live out our commitment to intersectional feminist values and best practice, ensuring that the most marginalized survivors in our community have access to support.”
    Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region

Finding opportunities that help families build the relationships and deepen connections that strengthen wellbeing is a hallmark of Carizon’s approach to supporting mental wellness. Maria experienced this as a participant in Carizon’s Food Distribution program. Staff noticed that she didn’t seem herself – Maria was withdrawn and unable to make eye contact. Maria shared that, prior to the start of the pandemic, she had lost a child due to a medical condition. Conflict with her partner escalated as they struggled with their grief, coupled with not being able to spend time with extended family due to COVID, meant that Maria was not receiving the support she needed. With one phone call, Maria was immediately set up with an in-person walk-in counselling session. It was clear that she had been suffering – while coping with the loss of her child, the war in Ukraine had triggered past trauma for Maria from her life growing up in Bosnia. In addition, the pandemic caused Maria’s husband to lose his job and she had not been able to return to work and they were living in poverty. Maria and her partner began counselling and received support to help grieve and develop conflict management skills. Maria also continued counselling on her own, identifying goals including becoming less isolated and re-engaging with her extended family and friends. Today, Maria credits counselling for helping to improve her relationships.