Thamesford, ON – Sisters Erica Haas and Lindsay Vandenbussche grew up in Innerkip and are well aware of the importance and need for mental health support in rural communities. As a result, the pair have gone into business with each other, opening CommYOUnity Counselling and Family Support in the town of Thamesford.
CommYOUnity Counselling and Family Support is a place for children, youth, and caregivers to receive mental health support through individual counselling, groups, and more. Among the services offered are one-on-one counselling, parenting support, and parent and tot playgroups.
Both women are registered social workers with varied backgrounds and experiences working with children, youth, and families. Vandenbussche says she has always had a passion for the mental health of youth but now as a new mother she finds herself drawn to paternal mental health as well. “Making sure moms are getting the support they need as well as their kids is very important. Not only that, dads, partners, and other caregivers as well. They all need to be supported.” The pair hold maternal mental health close to their hearts as Lindsay has an 18-month-old daughter and Erica is the mother of two children under the age of 4. “While we were on maternity leave, we realized we weren’t using our passion while working in the acute care sector, so we decided to open our own business,” adds Haas.
Haas says growing up in a small town means the pair are very aware of the need for mental health services in rural Ontario. “We really wanted to find a rural community central to other rural areas and the building just came up and we thought it would be the perfect spot,” says Haas who adds she envisioned a family support hub in which children could play and explore while parents could connect with other families to build a sense of community. “I imagined a fun and calming space that would allow children to explore their feelings and learn the skills to cope in their everyday lives.”
Haas adds that although their services are unfortunately not covered under OHIP some people’s benefits will cover their fees. “We are both registered social workers and there are a lot of benefits that will cover our services. Some plans cover psychologists and psychotherapists only, so we encourage people to check with their benefits company.”
A grand opening is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. The business is located at 125 Dundas Street West in Thamesford.
For more information contact:
Erica Haas or Lindsay Vandenbussche