Because sometimes the holidays can be too much


The holidays are a busy time for most. There are many events to attend and plan, a longer than normal to do list and an even greater shopping list, placing both financial and emotional strain on many individuals. Although the holidays are a time meant for celebration and gathering, people may become more aware of the void left by a loved one who has passed, or of their own personal loneliness.

For those individuals struggling with mental health challenges, this time of year can increase the number of factors that impact a person’s mood, mentality and quality of life. Much of what we do around the holidays and the busy pace at which we live our lives can act as triggers for holiday depression, stress and anxiety.

Anyone, at any age, can be affected by these emotions, not only during this busy season but always. It is important to take note of the variety of services one can access for mental health purposes both locally, in the district and through helplines:

Walk-In Counselling Service (705-759-5989)

The Walk-In Counselling Service is a brief counselling service that provides immediate access for children, youth, adults, couples and families. There is no need to make an appointment, as it is a first come, first serve service.

The Walk-In Counselling Service takes place every Tuesday (closed on December 27th) from 11:30 am to 7 pm (last session at 5:30 pm) at the Canadian Mental Health Association 386 Queen Street E., Sault Ste. Marie.

Algoma Family Services (705-945-5050)

AFS provides specialized services for children, youth, adults and families. Services are evidence-based, client-centered, family-focused and delivered by a team of skilled professionals and include counselling, family violence services and crisis follow-up services. The office is located at 205 McNabb St., Sault Ste. Marie, and is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm but will be closed December 26th, 27th and January 2nd.
Mental Health Helpline (1-866-531-2600)

Funded by the government of Ontario, the Mental Health Helpline provides basic education about mental health problems as well as listens, offers support and provides strategies to help you meet your needs. The Mental Health Helpline will primarily offer information about counselling services and supports in your community. The Helpline is a free and confidential service available 24/7 anywhere in Ontario.

Sault Area Hospital (705-759-3434)

Crisis Services (24 hours crisis response) provides assistance to individuals coping with a crisis situation that may feel unmanageable. The service is brief and short-term in nature as the goal is to assist the individual to return to a pre-crisis level of functioning. Those who access the service are provided with appropriate referrals to community agencies and supports required. Crisis Services can be reached by phone at 705-759-3398 or in the district at 1-800-721-0077.

The Safe Bed Program provides clients with addiction and mental health issues with time limited support in a safe and supervised residential setting. It offers support for adults in crisis who are currently involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system. The Safe Bed Program can be reached by calling 705-942-1872.
Canadian Mental Health Association (705-759-0458)

The Central Access and Information Service is accessible by telephone or by walk-in. Individuals are able to access information on what mental health and addictions services are available locally and across the district while ensuring individuals who access this service are linked to the appropriate level of service to suit their needs. The Central Access and Information Service also provides information on mental health, mental illness and additions.
It is available by calling 705-759-5989 or in the District at 1-855-366-1466 Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm. For walk-ins, visit 386 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (closed December 26th).

Additional Contact Information:

  • Emergency Housing (open 24/7)
  • Women in Crisis (Women) 705-759-1230
  • Vincent Place (Men) 705-253-2770
  • Pauline’s Place (Youth) 705-759-4663
  • Batchewana Crisis Centre (Women) 705-941-9054
  • Other Services (please review hours for holiday closures)
  • Victim Services of Algoma 705-945-6905
  • Native Youth Crisis Hotline 1-877-209-1266
  • Sexual Assault Care Centre 705-759-5143
  • Phoenix Rising Women’s Centre 705-759-5864
  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 1-855-242-3310
  • Seniors Mental Health Services 705-253-9671
  • East Algoma Counselling Services 705-759-6684