Free counselling program creates positive change for low-income Calgarians
Kylie Howe, who is on a limited income, was able to receive counseling services to help surmount her mental health struggles through a new Calgary program.
CALGARY -- Kylie Howe has a passion for music.
The 23-year-old singer-songwriter is an aspiring country artist with big dreams to showcase her skills to the world, but first she needed to overcome one of her largest obstacles.
“I was dealing with a little bit of childhood stuff that needed to be processed, I struggled with depression, anxiety and a lot of those things were just really coming up in the heat of the pandemic,” she said.
“It was really hard not finding that help and those people in my life to create a space for me to unpack all of that.”
But little did she know, that help was on the way.
Howe recently enrolled with Barrier Free Counselling through the Minds Over Matter Mental Health Society. The program offers free counselling services for young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 years-old, that make a living wage of under $30,000 per year.
“It was so important for me, I was on student loans, we had just transitioned into the pandemic and everything was kind of up in the air because I didn’t have the funds for counselling,” Howe said.
“To have real educated psychologists take me on and for it not to have to cost me anything, was truly a blessing.”
President of the Minds Over Matter Mental Health Society, Rick Lundy, says the program is available for anyone to apply online at mindsovermatter.me.
Applications take a few days to be processed, but counselling service can be provided to low-income Calgarians in as little as one week.
“This demographic is usually out there to fend for themselves for resources and they don’t have the accessibility that some of the other groups do,” Lundy said.
“We hear the same story that people tried and can’t get the help they need or that the system is not accessible and this program strips all those barriers and makes sure that it’s accessible for this group.”
So far, about a dozen Calgarians have participated in the program, which allows clients to continue on with their own personal psychologist or social worker or have a professional one assigned to them.
Having these extra tools and resources has been life-changing for people like Howe, who now has the added confidence she needs to continue writing and performing her music.
Her latest single ‘Didn’t Even Notice’ outlines her strength in overcoming life’s most difficult challenges.
“It’s about an acceptance piece of finally realizing that the thing that’s been holding you back and causing you pain is no longer that thing anymore, but you’ve started to notice it and live your life free,” she said.