Photo Courtesy: Women’s Resources
KAWARTHA LAKES-Officials with Women’s Resources in Lindsay say the levels of mental health issues they are seeing in both women and their children has been escalating alarmingly over the past few years, putting a strain on resources.
It’s called the “hidden abuse.” “Women are arriving with severe depression and anxiety which is often caused by unresolved trauma in their lives,” says Carolyn Fox, Fund Development Coordinator. “Usually the trauma of living with abuse for long periods of time, particularly psychological & emotional.”
Fox says the insidious nature of this kind of abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse, if not worse. “There are no cuts or bruises visible to treat, so women internalize, not recognizing how damaging this can be.” One woman told staff “I just wish he would just hit me”, then she would feel there is a tangible reason to leave. According to Fox many have turned to drugs and alcohol as a survival mechanism which can magnify the symptoms of existing mental health issues.
Counsellors at Women’s Resources are experienced and trained to deal with drug addictions and mental illness but they say they need additional resources to effectively handle the magnitude of the problem. The agency relies on private funds to deliver many of the programs they offer. They have a commitment to fundraise in excess of $400,000 annually. “When women are able to find the courage and opportunity to leave these intolerable situations, the counselling needed to help them move beyond these lives is intense and specialized, and the reality is, if we don’t take the initiative, they could die in the circumstances they are involved in.” Fox says.
Women’s Resources has developed partnerships with with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Works, Elizabeth Fry Society, Fourcast, and the Central East Local Health Integration Network, that enable them to provide support for addictions; medication reviews; employment supports; navigation of the housing system and justice system; and accessibility concerns. The new Bridges Hub brings together agency representatives in one place at one time allowing women the opportunity to meet with the services she needs without having to navigate a complex system alone.
Fox says the 18 bed shelter they operate only has the funding to have one staff working on most days. “It takes just moments for a potentially dangerous, even life-threatening situation to develop and our staff can’t be two places at once.” They would like to have two staff on in the evening and overnight but the cost would be an additional $150,000. Other programs are also facing a deficit.
Staff have organized an additional fundraiser to try to raise money to meet demand. The Marquee Event Raffle offers a London/Paris Package for two people valued at $5,000. The trip includes round trip flights from Toronto; Accommodation for 7 nights; 7 meals;Train fare; Transfers from Airport to Hotel; and Taxes, plus $1,000 spending money!
Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20 and can be purchased in Lindsay at:
• Women’s Resources, 22 Russell St. E.
• Vicky’s Values, 50 Mary St. W.
• Kawartha Lakes Travel Plus, 35 William St. N.
• Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault, 140 Kent St. W.
• Joyce’s Place, Lindsay Square Mall
The draw will be held on March 22, 2018. Click here for more information or to make a donation:https://womensresources.ca
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