You would expect that a small group of people meeting regularly to ensure people get the help they need are paid employees of a government-funded agency.
But members of a group I met recently were instead volunteers trying to get a fledgling charity off the ground. Their goal is simple: to provide therapy to everyone in Squamish who needs it. And it seems that although there are myriad agencies in town providing counselling, most people don’t qualify for it. Privately, you can expect to pay up to $300 an hour for therapy.
The Tantalus Wellspring Society has seven board members who want to solve this problem. They’ve been offering free seminars to people interested in various topics, from relationship communication to grief, and have a few more coming up.
It may strike some people as odd that anyone in Squamish could be depressed, given our stunning scenery, mild climate and penchant for fresh air and exercise. But not everyone lives the active lifestyle, and even of those who do, some are over-exercising to avoid dealing with life’s troubles. Society chairperson Julia Bresalier says about 80 per cent of people who need therapy don’t qualify. She and her group are keen to change this.
Brent Stewart, another board member and hypnotherapist, says many local women are overwhelmed by the stress of trying to do too much. “Our society demands so much of women now. Women still have the old typical roles of looking after the home and children but have the added burden of being the breadwinner now.”
“And be fit and only cook organic food,” adds Bresalier, laughing.
Board member Ashley Lightfoot says she was “bleeding money” trying new options in health care before giving birth to her child and wants to help others through Tantalus Wellspring. She’s busy but finds time.
The other board members are nurse and mother of twins Liz Grant, businessman and father of four Rob Weys, student Karen Hoshino and entrepreneur Joanna Luscombe. They’re all incredibly busy but want to help Squamish residents find mental health care. It’s easy to admire them and the many other groups of volunteers in town making this such a caring place.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote. “Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”