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

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read