Tara Munro’s wellness center in Sooke is expanding to the West Shore after seeing a spike in demand for mental health services.
Despite being a counsellor for years in Sooke, Munro said she couldn’t meet the needs of residents. In 2019, she opened the Sea To Tree Health and Wellness Centre but began expanding a year ago to meet community members’ increasing needs.
A Statistics Canada report released in October found that the number of people self-reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder increased from one in five in fall 2020 to one in four in spring 2021.
Now the centre has 17 counsellors contracted to it, who work both online and in Sooke in various disciplines. Nine of the counselling staff are available in person in Sooke – in-person is more prevalent in Sooke than online counselling.
But Munro said online has become more commonplace and offers flexibility, and now the centre has clients across the country, including in northern B.C. and the Northwest Territories.
After the team was assembled, which included massage therapists, student counsellors for discounted rates, and a naturopathic doctor – Munro said the center could mix and match counsellors for different people’s needs.
“I was born and raised in Sooke. This is my home, and I wanted to be able to adjust, modify and meet people’s needs as best we can.”
While Munro is focused on meeting the needs of Sooke, the team has grown large enough that there is no longer an issue with prioritizing patients in one location over another, so much so that a new site is set to open in Colwood on March 15 to cover the West Shore.
Munro said she’s looking to hire a couple more counsellors but is also looking to further diversify the services with physiotherapists, chiropractors and space for yoga.