The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund is improving women’s mental health care – Right Here, Right Now

St. John’s, NL – Today, the St. John’s Women’s Centre received a $25,000 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant for the Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling program for women. Right Here, Right Now is the first and only individual counselling service for women of its kind in Canada.

Women’s Centre staff and supporters gathered with representatives from Bell this morning at an event to celebrate the $25,000 funding, which will allow for the expansion of counselling services offered at the centre.

“Many women face a complexity of issues and long wait lists impede their ability to access appropriate services,” said Dana Warren, Clinical Team Lead and Counsellor, St. John’s Women’s Centre. “Securing free drop-in counselling services guarantees that we can deliver a therapeutic service that addresses women’s unique mental health needs when they need it the most. Right Here, Right Now is essential to women’s wellness. As we continue to grow, Bell Let’s Talk supports the future of a much needed and lauded community mental health program.”

The Right Here, Right Now program was created to improve access to mental health care for women in our community, especially those coping with lengthy wait times for “traditional” mental health services. Twice a week, on Tuesdays from 12-7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 12-5 p.m., the Women’s Centre provides free and confidential counselling. No appointment or referral is needed to receive service.

“Bell Let’s Talk is proud to support the St. John’s Women’s Centre’s Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling program to help women in Newfoundland with mental health issues get the care they need,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Having doubled the annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to $2 million in 2018, we are helping some 120 organizations in communities across Canada, like St. John’s Women’s Centre, who are making a difference for those affected by mental illness.”

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 30
The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 30, and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of the following interactions, at no extra cost to participants:

  • Talk: Every mobile call and every long distance call made by Bell wireless and phone customers
  • Text: Every text message sent by Bell wireless customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk, featuring the special Bell Let’s Talk emoji, and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/Bell_LetsTalk
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/bell_letstalk
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view

To learn more, please visit

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre 

The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.


Media Contact
Robyn Pike
Development and Communications Coordinator
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
Tel. 709.753.0220

We’re HIRING: Team Lead – Counsellor

Team Lead – Counsellor

We are seeking a dynamic, feminist counsellor to oversee our innovative Right Here, Right Now drop-in single session clinic, and to facilitate group work and individual advocacy. This position will provide supervision and support to our team and offer counselling and community education and awareness.

This unique position is perfect for an experienced counsellor with administrative and team lead experience, who is ready to help guide our counselling service to the next level.

St. John’s Status of Women Council
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program, and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

Position Summary
This position coordinates and oversees all clinical services at the St. John’s Women’s Centre, including the Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling clinic, group work, individual advocacy, and crisis intervention.

The Team Lead will facilitate a learning environment whereby team members are supported to work to their full scope of practice. The Team Lead will be proficient in single session counselling and supervision, and demonstrate excellence in leadership, role-modeling, communication and organizational skills, problem solving, and decision-making.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• Provide counselling within our single session drop-in clinic, facilitate group work and individual advocacy.
• Facilitate ongoing orientation and learning for new and transferring staff, as well as student
placement initiatives.
• Mentor staff through supporting, teaching, role modeling, and coaching.
• Identify clinical issues requiring staff education and work collaboratively with the team and
community to address learning needs.
• Role model professional practice and promote best practice.
• Collect and analyze data and write reports.
• Act as a clinical resource for staff.

• Certified counsellor or M.S.W required.
• Minimum of three (3) years clinical experience. Preference given for experience in community mental health, women-centred therapeutic work.
• Proven competency in single session, narrative, and feminist therapy.
• Experience with group work, advocacy, and crisis intervention.
• Experience working with women and substance misuse.
• Demonstrated time management, communication (verbal and written), organizational and
interpersonal skills required.
• Demonstrated leadership, delegation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills involving
innovation/creativity in solution development.
• Proven team building, leadership, goal development, and evaluation skills.
• Experience working in an inclusive environment, working with trans, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and sex working women.

Hours of Work
Monday-Friday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), some evenings and weekends as required.

To Apply
This position closes on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Please send your resume and a cover letter clearly outlining how your experience meets our requirements to Jenny Wright, Executive Director at

Indigenous, WOC, Trans and sex working women are encouraged to apply for this position.

Due to the high volume of responses we get to job postings, unfortunately only those who are moving on to the interview process will receive a response.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Drop-in Counselling Program Successfully Completes Pilot Project

The Right Here, Right Now (RHRN) drop-in counselling clinic, the region’s first and only drop-in counselling clinic for women, today releases a comprehensive evaluation of their innovative pilot program.

The Right Here, Right Now Drop-In Counselling Initiative represents a partnership between the St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre (SJSWC/WC) and the School of Social Work at Memorial University. The initiative was led by Dr. Catherine de Boer, Associate Professor with the School of Social Work. Memorial’s Office of Public Engagement provided $10,000 in funding for the design and evaluation of the project.

Over the course of the six-month pilot, a total of 156 counselling sessions were offered to 78 women. The primary concern of women coming for counselling was their mental health, (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD) relationships, and trauma.

According to the evaluation results, the pilot of the RHRN counselling clinic was a resounding success. Women who utilized the service found it useful, with many choosing to return for repeat sessions or to engage in other programs offered by the Women’s Centre. As hoped, RHRN did provide a necessary stop gap for women awaiting traditional mental health services within the region. The evaluation noted that 32 per cent of women who utilized the service were on waitlists for “traditional” mental health services, with a mean wait time of 15.5 months. The average length of the RHRN service, from intake through the wait time and a completed counselling session was 90 minutes.

The evaluation found the RHRN drop-in counselling clinic to offer a useful, relevant, and responsive service for women in the community. Counselling sessions continue to be offered through the program twice a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Women’s Centre from 12-5 p.m. The SJSWC/WC is seeking sustaining funding for the program with the goal of continuing to offer it long-term. The complete pilot program evaluation is available for download here. 

“At the Women’s Centre we saw a huge gap in the availability of mental health services, especially for women, that we wanted to address. With the guidance of Dr. Catherine de Boer we were able to develop an in-house, first of its kind therapeutic model that works. It quickly became evident that responsive community organizations have a unique ability to deliver quality services with limited financial resources and the project evaluation demonstrates that. We cannot downplay the benefits of a counselling program placed within a community organization – women came for counselling, but then they connected to other programs and found a sense of community. I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished.”

Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council

“The success of this pilot project is a testament to what can be accomplished when universities and community partners truly work collaboratively. This project worked because we shared a common vision – to offer a service that was accessible, women-focused and useful. I am humbled by the trust women placed in us and this drop-in counselling initiative and so pleased the six-month pilot was a success.”

Catherine de Boer
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Memorial University


    • The Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling clinic is the region’s first and only drop-counselling clinic operating out of a community organization.
    • 78 women came through the doors during the six-month pilot and 156 sessions were offered.
    • 86 per cent of the women used the RHRN clinic as a short-term counselling service, (i.e., came for either one or two sessions) which was the intention of the program.
    • Every woman who came for service was seen on the same day, the average length of service (including the intake and counselling session) was 90 minutes.
    • 64 per cent of the women who received drop-in counselling had never accessed services at the Women’s Centre before – 50 per cent of these “new” women remained engaged by either returning for additional counselling or by attending other programs at the St. John’s Women’s Centre.
    • The primary presenting concern of women coming in for counselling was their mental health, specifically anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and addictions.


 Media Contacts
Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.753.0220

Catherine de Boer
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Memorial University
Tel. 709.743.4500

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre 
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

Hey Rosetta! lending a holiday helping hand to the St. John’s Women’s Centre

The Hey Rosetta! Christmas shows have long been a St. John’s holiday staple, the kick-off to the festive season in “Town.” This year, Hey Rosetta! has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from every ticket sold to these shows will go to support St. John’s Women’s Centre! In the spirit of this partnership, they have also generously donated five pairs of tickets to their final, sold-out show at Mile One Centre to the Women’s Centre.

Today we are launching an auction so that you can bid on your chance to experience what promises to be one of the most memorable nights in St. John’s music history – then spend a night at JAG Boutique Hotel, with its classic rock inspired decor, and enjoy a leisurely brunch the next day at Blue on Water. Music, relaxation, and great food, all in the heart of downtown, and all in support of a fantastic cause.

The successful bidder in this auction will receive:

Two (2) general admission (floor) tickets to the Friday, December 22 show at Mile One Centre;
A one-night stay at JAG Boutique Hotel on Friday, December 22; and,
A gift certificate for brunch for two (2) at Blue on Water.

The other four pairs of tickets (one general admission, three seated) will be auctioned separately. To view the auctions and place your bid, click here.

The Women’s Centre thanks Hey Rosetta! and their management team, PLUS1, JAG and Steele Hotels, and Blue on Water for their support.

“They feel heard. They feel relief. They feel hope.”

As a counsellor, it is staggering sometimes to see the “before and after” of a counselling session. Many women have shared with us that it’s difficult to get in the door but once they do it is unlike any other counselling experience they have had. They feel heard. They feel relief. They feel hope. But what are women saying about getting in the door?

Working up the courage to walk in the door can take weeks. even months. Why is that? Sometimes it seems daunting to reach out and accept help. The process is unknown as well as the location and that can be intimidating. Some women have had other therapeutic experiences that have been negative.  Women also have said that “other people” need the service more than they do and it’s free – so that’s too good to be true.

Counselling can be a vulnerable experience but it can also be empowering. It is meant as a time for you to explore ideas and practices that will support your struggles and concerns. The process is about hearing and supporting you and making a plan, not judging you or fixing you. You deserve service that works for your life. Women are the backbone of families and when we are mentally healthy our relationships are better. Drop in counselling is first and foremost a service to support women wherever they are in their lives.

So what is drop in counselling? Well, you can just drop in. You don’t need an appointment. You don’t need a referral. The most a woman has ever waited to date is an hour. Yeah, it might sound too good to be true but every Tuesday and Wednesday (12-5) you can drop by the Women’s Centre and we will be here to meet you with no strings attached. If you want to come back, we welcome you. If one session is enough, that’s your choice. We have built a program to serve women in whatever way they need it. So come on by!

Dana Warren, BSW, RSW

Women’s Centre is offering a new parenting group for survivors of DV

We are so pleased to announce that we have begun a new therapeutic group for women at The St. John’s Women’s Centre.

Helping Children Thrive supports mothers leaving domestic violence become stronger and more effective parents.  This 12 week skill based group  helps mothers understand how domestic violence has undermined their parenting and offers alternatives skills and strategies in a safe and supportive environment. Through strengthening the skill set of mothers after abuse we hope to strengthen families and stop the cycle of intergenerational violence.

Helping Children Thrive is based on the work  of Linda Cunningham  from the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System – Helping Children Thrive: Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers.

The group is free and open to all women in the community. Childcare and transportation stipends are  available. For more information please contact Sheila at The Women’s Centre 709-753-0220 or email


Right here, right now: A drop in counseling program for women.

The St. John’s Status of Women Council in collaboration with Mun School of Social Work is launching Right Here, Right Now: A Women Centred Drop-In Counselling program. This innovative six month pilot program will operate two days a week at the Women’s Centre. On Mondays and Tuesdays, from 12-6pm we will offer brief single session therapy with a women-centred, trauma informed approach.

The drop-in counselling program will begin in September 26th, 2016. Two days a week for six months, women will be able to drop into the safe and welcoming environment of women’s centre and receive therapeutic services that will help them increase their ability to cope and have greater knowledge of and access to a broad range of services and resources.

This ground breaking initiative project will first and foremost help fill the huge gap in services for women in our community who are having difficulty accessing services or experiencing long wait times. Following the successful launch and evaluation of the pilot drop in counselling program, we are hopeful that the partnership between the SJSWC and the School of Social Work will continue.


52: Hope and Resistance – a photo blog

By Leslie Butt
All Photos credits: Kit Sora

I first met Kit when we were both working for a local modeling agency in 2010. I have been following her photographs on her personal Facebook page ever since. When she began posting the photographs from her “52” project, they definitely hit me hard and I knew that a wider audience would benefit from her work. I don’t know many women who have not dealt with body image issues at one time or another, and I feel they are so deeply ingrained into our subconscious and social culture that they are almost unavoidable.


Although only a portion of the population are statistically diagnosed with eating disorders, our culture is rampant with idealistic images of women’s bodies and an inherent pressure to look a certain way and I know that we can work from the bottom-up to change our socially constructed ideas of how we are supposed to present ourselves as women. Although this is only one woman’s journey, I know that it is relative to a large portion of women who struggle every day. This being said, we also have the power to recognize ourselves as worthy, confident and capable women, no matter what our body type.


It is estimated that 1 out of 100 Canadian women will be affected by an eating disorder at some point in their lives. A tragic 10% of these people will die within ten years of the onset of the disorder due to health related complications or suicide (CMHA 2015). Kit Sora, a 24 year old St. John’s woman, has been stunningly capturing both the internal and interpersonal emotions associated with dealing with an eating disorder in a series of photographs entitled “52.” Her goal is take a photograph every week for a one year period.

“The reason I started it was because I could never find the words to put to such important things, so I took to photos,” said Kit when asked to describe her project.

“The photos definitely speak for themselves.”



As of March 2016, Kit has taken 9 incredibly powerful photographs in her series. Kit identifies as a self-portrait artist and states that she has been fighting with mental illness from a young age.

“I’ve been taking photos as long as I can remember, and recently started this project to both spread awareness and make it tangible, as well as for some self-preservation and personal growth.”


Kit’s amazing ability to capture emotion in her photographs, combined with her desire for community outreach, certainly makes her a force to be reckoned with. What started as a New Year’s promise to herself to take one self-portrait per week has become not only an astounding encapsulation of eating disorders, but also a source of hope for others who may be struggling with similar issues.


Kit’s photos can be viewed on her Facebook page,
Anyone struggling with an eating disorder are encouraged to contact the Mental Health Crisis Line at 18887374668 or the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador at (709) (709) 7220500.

You are not alone.

Leslie Butt is a writer, artist and mother of two living in St. John’s. Her books “Fifteen” and “Bring on the Dark” deal with struggles of mental illness, addiction and the resiliency of women. Her art has appeared in venues across Canada, and she has been working in community outreach since 2010, with a specific desire to work with struggling youth and sex workers.
She can be followed on Twitter @leslierb123, or her personal blog