PRESS RELEASE: Lessons from Five Years of Free Feminist Counselling

The St. John’s Status of Women Council launches new report sharing key learnings from five years of providing free feminist counselling services in the community.

ST. JOHN’S, May 3rd, 2023 – On Canadian Mental Health Week, the St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) is releasing a report on their feminist approach to mental health care in the community and sharing their concerns about inadequate mental health support for those who need it most.  

For five years, the SJSWC has been offering free counselling services to community members and the monitoring data from their work has shown that wait times, lack of financially accessible mental health services, and a lack of understanding of the impacts that gender based violence (GBV) has on mental health are causing harm in our community. 

The SJSWC’s approach to mental health care is one which reduces barriers, emphasizes connections, provides essential services, challenges assumptions and stereotypes, and, most importantly, puts people first. The report shows that our mental health needs cannot be adequately addressed by any one institution, body or community organization. Most importantly, not without sustainable resources that allow stable and wide-reaching services, ongoing evaluation, and adaptation to meet the changing needs of our communities. 

Lisa Faye, Executive Director of the SJSWC, notes the importance of a feminist approach to mental health services: “What we’ve learned from Right Here, Right Now is that a feminist, trauma-informed, low-barrier approach to mental health care works for people. We also know that people need continuous care, connection, and better access to services. If we are committed to improving health outcomes in our community more broadly, we have to invest in mental health services now.” 

The SJSWC calls for sustainable funding for mental health services, improved understanding of GBV in all mental health care settings, and increased access to services in order to cut waitlists, prioritizing choice and connection. 



For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:
Lisa Faye
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council / Women’s Centre