Library launches pilot program offering mental health support for patrons
The third floor of Calgary's Central Library now features a Wellness Desk, that provides visitors with free, professional mental health care and referrals
CALGARY -- The central library announced a new wellness desk Tuesday, where people will be able to access professional supports to connect them to the information they need, at a time when the pandemic and a recession has put a strain on Calgarians' mental health.
The library announced the pilot project, developed in partnership with Woods Home, when Calgary Public Library CEO Mark Asberg said, "We know that a large percentage of Canadians and Calgarians will experience mental health challenges at some point in their life and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't made that any better, especially when you think of the level of anxieties and isolation (many people are experiencing) right now."
"The library and Woods Homes want to make these (mental health) resources more accessible," he added.
Asberg said the central library's location and the range of patrons it serves, made it a perfect spot to serve as a hub for offering Calgarians access to mental health resources.
"One of the barriers that people face when they have a mental health challenge is where to start," he said. "Making those supports more accessible, when you're at the public library, makes a lot of sense.
"The magic of the library," he added, "is that it is a space for everybody."
The wellness desk is located on the third floor of the library, where there's a room dedicated, and set up casually, with soft seating for drop-in visits.
Janet Stewart, from Woods Homes reiterated Asberg's sentiments, explaining that Woods Homes is a children's mental health centre that's also provided support for families, individuals, couples and anyone seeking support.
She said Woods Homes staff are professional counsellors with years of experience helping people navigate mental health and addictions services in Calgary.
Stewart added that, as a free service, there were no cost barriers to gaining assistance. "Especially at this time," she said, "when folks are struggling, it's very important for everyone to receive support for their mental health as well."