New data show value of counselling services delivered by Ontario Family Service agencies a significant factor in coping with stress of job loss

    Study shows that counselling has important place in helping people cope
    with stress, saving government money in health, social service and

    TORONTO, May 6 /CNW/ - New results from the Family Service Outcome
Measures Program show the value of professional counselling as a treatment
intervention for people at risk of serious mental and physical problems; 62%
of individuals seen by Family Service agencies with a moderate mental health
problem have significant clinical improvement as a result of treatment.
    "The study is particularly relevant now in this era of job loss and
economic distress," says Family Service Ontario Executive Director John Ellis.
"It shows that counselling is a critical part of health supports for
Ontarians, and that counselling has the potential, by helping people cope in
constructive ways, of saving the government millions of dollars in health,
social services and justice system expenditures." In fact, the data indicate
that counselling services delivered by Family Service agencies in Ontario were
twice as effective as the average treatment for common mental health problems
cited in published studies.
    With EI claims climbing 67% in Ontario over the last year, Family Service
agencies are serving more and more people who are coping with the stresses and
consequences of job loss.
    The data was gathered from 2100 clients over two years in 21 Ontario
Family Service agencies and showed that with professional counselling, people
are able to improve their functioning so they can find and keep a job, start
job search and training programs, overcome suicidal tendencies, reduce the
risk of harming themselves or others, and reduce the use of alcohol and drugs.
Results complement research studies conducted by Dr. Gina Browne of McMaster
University in Hamilton, Ontario. Dr. Browne's research shows that these
counselling programs help people build self-esteem, improve family
relationships and get back on their feet, ultimately reducing the use of more
expensive health and other services.
    The Family Service Outcome Measures Program utilized a well-established,
valid and reliable clinical measurement tool, called the OQ 45, as a benchmark
to determine statistically significant changes.
    Data from the study show that clients experience
    -  60% clinically significant improvement in specific problems
    -  25% clinically significant improvement in overall functioning
    -  70% to 98% improvement for problems related to specific workplace
       issues, depending on the factor measured: quality of work,
       concentration, attendance.

    Family Service agencies help more than 250,000 Ontarians a year with
problems ranging from anxiety and depression to traumas such as family
violence, addiction, social isolation, marital conflict, unemployment or
financial loss and settlement issues.

For further information:

For further information: John Ellis, Executive Director, Family Service
Ontario, (416) 231-6003, ext. 23, Email:

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