Community Support

Icon for CRD Perinatal Counselling Program

The CRD Perinatal Counselling Program has a long history of support in our community.

Let’s begin with the present-day program. The CRD Perinatal Counselling Program. In June 2020 we opened our doors and started delivering counselling to new and expecting parents across Greater Victoria.

We did this after cuts in public health funding that ended the former postpartum support program. This well-established program made counselling accessible to well more than a hundred moms a year for 30 years.

How could a new program go operational in a couple months?

When a generous, concerned donor in our community surprised us with funds to seed the design and startup of a new and improved program. And when in 2021, a new charitable organization, agreed to assist our operation and development going forward. This is the Westshore Primary Care Society, an innovator in healthcare delivery solutions on the Westshore and across Greater Victoria.

Here are some results.

First, new and expecting parents within the boundaries of the Capital Regional District are better able to access counselling at the time they need it. This is because pregnant, prenatal parents are now eligible for program-funded services.

Second, our program counsellors are better able to get resources to the parents with a high need and who are clearly making progress. We can do this because of our relative independence and flexibility to adjust and adapt our operations to consider the circumstances of the families we serve.

As important as the improvements are, the new program retains a few features of a service delivery model that was introduced in 1990. That is when the legacy postpartum program was launched by Joan Wale, a private practice counsellor who since retired. Joan was able to partner with what is now the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island which provided institutional infrastructure and access to charitable dollars in the community.

In 1999, Joan invited Traci McGee to share the counselling responsibilities of the program. When Joan scaled back her practice in 2004 to prepare for retirement, Traci accepted the reins as lead clinician for the program.

For years, the program continued to operate with the Foundation as its institutional home. But in 2012, the Foundation underwent major organizational changes and arranged a transfer of program oversight to the regional health authority. At that point, the local charity funding that sustained the program was replaced by public health dollars. That is, for eight years until a replacement program was needed and, fortuitously, launched with much thanks to the philanthropic community seed funding.

Help parents access counselling

ways of giving

Would you like to help the program continue to make perinatal counselling accessible for parents across the Greater Victoria region? Charitable donations are accepted online on the website of the Westshore Primary Care Society (WPCS).

When making a donation, you can refer to the “Perinatal Program” in a note. That is, if you want to direct the society to use the funds specifically to deliver funded counselling to parents when its needed.

Should you want to discuss any gift you may make to help sustain or expand the program, contact Breanna or Alyssa at the WPCS.

Reflections

“When you study postpartum depression, there is a very clear understanding that in communities where you see more support, there is less depression”

Ariel Gore