Ehrlo Counselling has recently formed a partnership with the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) that will see Ehrlo Counselling employees fill gaps in ARC’s client access to mental health services, as well as help support parents of ARC clients through psychoeducation sessions based on mental health issues that they or their children may be coping with.

The agreement was initiated by ARC, who received a grant to develop and facilitate a program aimed at helping their members address mental health issues through a variety of modalities, including counselling services.

“We were noticing that our young adults were coming to us with a variety of mental health needs, and we were unable to support them in ways they were requiring,” explained Chanda Winter, ARC program director.

Ehrlo Counselling clinical manager Janet Miller stated, “Part of our mission is to help fill in some of these gaps, and help provide services to folks who need them but may face barriers to getting them.”

Some of the barriers faced by ARC clientele could be around lack of transportation to appointments, anxiety about being in an unfamiliar area, or seeing a clinician who may not have experience with clients on the spectrum.

By having a counsellor come directly to the Centre, some of these issues are mitigated. As such, Ehrlo Counselling contract clinician Cheryl Hymus-Fraser, who has experience working with autistic clients, will go to ARC for six hours every two weeks to provide on-site counselling services for their clients.

Additionally, Ehrlo’s Dave Wiebe will be providing psychoeducation sessions to parents of ARC clientele at their monthly support meetings. Dave will talk about mental health issues faced by ARC clientele and those issues that may be more specific to parents of children with autism. Topics may include such things as grief, anxiety, depression, or addictions.

“We at ARC are very excited for this partnership and opportunity for our young adults and their families,” Chanda said.

The initiative is currently slated to run from October 16 to June 1, 2018.