The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Stop the Violence counselling program is looking to identify women’s needs in 70 Mile House and Clinton.
Until Dec. 8, counsellors are conducting interviews with women from Clinton and the 70 Mile House area. Kalika Moody, the CMHA’s Stop the Violence counsellor, said these talks are being conducted to identify the gaps in local women’s services.
“Right now, we’ve networked with the communities and we’re talking to the women,” Moody said. “We’re going into those communities bi-weekly and sitting down with women, interviewing them and hearing what they have to talk about when it comes to their personal needs and community gaps.”
Since she took up her position, Moody said she consistently heard from women that rural communities like the South Cariboo lack many services geared towards women.
“Often women will experience isolation in different forms. Isolation might happen due to a lack of transportation, whereas in a larger community there may be a bus service,” Moody said. “There’s also just a general lack of mental health and medical supports.”
Tshidi Machete, the counselling assistant, said they’re focusing on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted women. Machete said it’s important to gather this data as lockdowns worsened certain issues, such as social isolation.
“My experience is that all women need to reach out and it’s not easy to do that. Our aim and objective are to see them come out and get that support and help,” Machete said.
Moody said women can talk with her and other members of Stop the Violence every second Thursday at the Clinton Health Centre from 10 a.m. to noon and the Seventy Mile Access Centre from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. They will next be visiting 70 Mile House and Clinton on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Any women are welcome to participate in this survey, Moody said, be they young or old, immigrant or indigenous, transgender or cisgender. All information shared will be kept confidential.
Moody said the interviews are a part of the new Shockproofing Communities program funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Networking with the community is stage one of the project, followed by a second stage where the group works to develop a service to meet the needs of the community’s women. Moody said she is hopeful local leaders will step up after they read the report.
“Providing the service will depend on their needs. Right now, we don’t know,” Machete said. “Maybe it will be some counselling, maybe it will be workshops.”
For more information or to arrange a meeting Moody invites the public to contact 778-482-1788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.