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Barrett Centre’s team supports people who need immediate counselling for mental health crises

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“Our clients need to feel they are supported”
Barrett Centre’s team supports people who need immediate counselling for mental health crises

Most of us are anxious and stressed about the effects of the pandemic on our families and communities. We deal with this crisis in our own way, often with the support of family and friends. But for many people who deal with mental illness on a daily basis, the spectre of COVID-19 can be debilitating.

That’s why Good Shepherd’s Barrett Centre for Crisis Support plays such an important role in community mental health care. The Barrett Centre provides a safe environment for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and don’t require a hospital stay. They also offer crisis support over the telephone; mental health workers serve people from all walks of life who need support, 24 hours a day. They also provide help and referrals to other appropriate community resources.

Nimmu has worked with the Barrett Centre for nine months. She is a mental health crisis worker who answers calls to the Centre’s 24-hour crisis line and works as part of a dedicated team that supports members of the community who need immediate counselling. Not surprisingly, Nimmu has seen an increase in clients reporting depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation due to widespread measures to slow the disease. Frequently changing rules meant to stop COVID-19 upset her clients’ need for stability.

“Our clients need to feel they are supported,” she explains. “We get calls because they just want to talk to someone.”

The Barrett Centre receives approximately 40 to 50 crisis calls a day.

Nimmu sees her role as being part of a vital team, “lending a hand” to people who rely on the Barrett Centre for ongoing help. She is gratified by the empathy that is returned by the clients with whom she deals. It shows she and her co-workers are making a difference.

“We all worry about our clients, but when they ask about how we are, we are proud of how we’ve helped,” says Nimmu.

For now, the workers at the Barrett Centre are doing their best to carry on. Some are occupying offices in other Good Shepherd locations, but they always stay connected and keep the lines of communications open for the sake of their clients.

“I miss my team, but this is something we need to do at this time,” says Nimmu.

If you feel you are in crisis and need to talk to someone, call the Barrett Centre for Crisis Support 24 hours a day at 905.529.7878 or 1-844-777-3571.

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