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Moving Forward Family Services increases mental health services for the Surrey community

We've provided a $34,000 grant to Moving Forward Family Services to facilitate the implementation of a full-time Supervisor and 20 new interns to provide counselling services and aid with the increased demand for mental health support since the rise of COVID-19.

Moving Forward Family Services provides client-focused counselling services that are accessible and affordable. Their mission is to provide affordable counselling services with an anti-racist and anti-oppressive approach. Their services address systemic barriers faced by under-serviced and vulnerable populations in Surrey and beyond, making counselling services accessible to all. Their services currently take place with little to no fees through online, telephone, one-on-one and group counselling sessions. Their work supports those with mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse issues in a manner that is culturally sensitive, safe, ethical and accessible. In 2019, they served 2,400 unique clients. Moving Forward Family Services is crucial in addressing various communal issues amid COVID-19.

Gary Thandi, the Founder and Executive Director of Moving Forward Family Services, described the demand for counselling amid COVID-19 as unprecedented wherein the “needs for mental health support and services have increased. The system, which was already overloaded, is facing unprecedented strain.” Thandi, therefore, explained that the “lack of mental health professionals, long waitlists, restriction on services, costs, cultural awareness, language and accessibility are barriers [their] clients face” hence, Moving Forward Family Services “fills the gap and addresses the long waitlists that exist and bottlenecks the recovery process for clients.”

The grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.

Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares, explained that "the COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for emotional and psychological support for vulnerable community members. This program provides much-needed access to affordable counselling services in Surrey for those who have limited means. As we approach World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we want to raise awareness of the importance of reaching out for help. This year’s theme is Mental Health for All. Greater Investment – Greater Access.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

Find out more about Moving Forward Family Services and its counselling services at



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