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What Are “Talk-in” Clinics? A Quick Intro for Students in Community Services Worker Courses

January 31, 2018

community service worker diploma

If you’re looking to become a community services worker, then you may have heard of talk-in clinics, a new type of service that has begun appearing in Ontario. Whether you’ve heard of the term or not, you may be wondering what a talk-in clinic is. Essentially, it’s a walk-in counselling service, allowing for quick access to counsellors and support services for children, youth, and families. Each talk-in clinic may be a little different, but generally the services are free of charge.

Because of how talk-in clinics operate, they can be a great benefit to an individual who might otherwise hesitate to seek counselling due to inconveniences associated with scheduling or costs. To have some more light shed on this relatively new phenomenon, and learn why it’s so important, keep reading!

How Exactly Does a Talk-in Clinic Work?

Probably the most significant aspect of how a talk-in clinic works is that an individual seeking counselling services can simply walk in. No appointment or referral is required. The aim of this up-front approach to counselling is to significantly reduce wait times for clients. When a new client arrives, they immediately receive a counselling session rather than being put on a waitlist. If there are many people in the clinic on a given day, then a client may be offered to schedule an appointment for a later date, but the wait time in such a case is still very short.

community services worker college

Talk-in clinics are for children, youth, and their families

The benefit of being able to receive counselling immediately is that a client will receive useful feedback and steps for addressing their needs from the outset. Such up-front counselling offers clients the opportunity to explore their needs as soon as they may require it, as well as to develop strategies that may be helpful in addressing those needs. Armed with a summary of their discussion with the counsellor, they are able to leave the clinic better prepared to identify and engage in next steps.

Clients in Need of Multiple Types of Counselling May Be Able to Find Them All in One Place

Some talk-in clinics have combined multiple types of services in one place, thus allowing for improved access for individuals and families who might be in need of more than one service. Students at community services worker college know that sometimes a person may be in need of assistance on multiple fronts, and this is exactly what this amalgamation of various services is trying to address.

If it’s discovered, for example, that an individual in a general counselling session is experiencing problems related to sexual assault, then they may be referred to another service within the clinic that is specialized in addressing this particular need. In this way, clients are able to access multiple necessary services in one location. The savings this allots through reducing time in relation to scheduling, traveling, and waiting to be seen can make getting help much more accessible to many individuals.

Talk-In Clinics Offer Measures for Those in Need of Critical Assistance

Though each talk-in clinic may differ, generally only one session of counselling is offered. However, this doesn’t mean talk-in clinics are not equipped to address the needs of individuals requiring crisis counselling or timely intake for multiple sessions. Should an individual require ongoing services, assistance is provided in choosing and accessing these services, and support is also provided in the form of individualized action and safety plans to be followed when an individual is waiting for the other services to begin.

Students in Community Services Worker College Know the Important of Front-Line Assistance

Those studying for a community service worker diploma know that receiving counselling assistance as soon as possible is crucial to preventing the onset of potentially serious crises. Unfortunately, up-front counselling is not always available to those who may need it the most. In Ontario, the provision of front-line mental health care is underfunded, and the amount of youth visiting the ER seeking help for a mental health crisis has been on the rise. Direct and easily accessible support in communities for youth can help prevent such crises. The advent of talk-in clinics in Ontario can be beneficial especially for this purpose, and it will be interesting for those in community services professions to monitor further developments in this area.

community service worker courses

Easily accessible support within communities is important for preventing mental health crises

Are you seeking to enter a profession where you can help people in need?

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