Hard Feelings is an innovative, welcoming community of professional counsellors who provide low-cost services and support. Our storefront sells carefully curated books and resources to help build and sustain stronger mental health.
Hard Feelings is an innovative, welcoming community of professional counsellors who provide low-cost services and support.
Our storefront sells carefully curated books and resources to help build and sustain stronger mental health.
Hard Feelings is a non-profit social enterprise. Our mission is to reduce barriers and increase access to mental health supports and resources through an innovative community of practice.
Hard Feelings was founded by Kate Scowen, a social worker, counsellor and writer who believes that strong mental health is rooted in self-understanding and connection. In her work, she found that many people were unable to find affordable mental health supports. She envisioned a storefront where people could come together to find resources that support strong mental health and have access to affordable on-site counselling.
Why is it called Hard Feelings?
We all experience emotions like fear, anxiety, sadness and shame. These are hard feelings that can impact our day-to-day lives and take a toll on our physical and mental health. We know that mental health challenges are a part of life for pretty much everyone, whether we struggle ourselves, or know someone who does.
Mental health challenges can be isolating and stigmatizing. We want to move away from feeling bad about struggling with our mental health to feeling good about the supports that are available. We want people to know that we all have hard feelings and that working to understand them and the ways they impact our behaviour and thinking can change how we treat and accept ourselves. Talking and learning about hard feelings can help us cope with past experiences and move forward. It’s a personal and sometimes complicated journey, but we don’t have to travel alone.
We chose the name Hard Feelings because we want people to know we are a welcoming and safe place, free of stigma and shame. Bring us your hard feelings, we’re here to help.
What does it mean when people say there is a mental health crisis in Canada?
There’s a lot of talk about the mental health crisis in Canada. For some reason, despite all the attention and focus, things don’t seem to be getting much better. People have been encouraged to talk about mental health and pay attention to what they need, but we haven’t been able to keep up with the demand for service. It’s confusing and complex, and a lot of people get left out.
We know that getting the right counselling and support can make positive change. We also know that waiting for or not being able to afford service can make things worse. Limited access to mental health supports is at the core of the mental health crisis and is rooted in stigma. Stigma is visible in the limited amounts allocated for private counselling in employee and student benefit plans, the limited funding for public (free) mental health service and the lack of innovation in private practice models. This means that many people who might benefit from counselling never get the chance to find out.
How do I schedule an appointment with a counsellor?
We do not provide central intake – you must book directly with one of the counsellors.
To make an appointment for counselling:
- View the counsellor profiles (available here)
- Choose a counsellor you might like to work with. Think about what you are hoping to get out of counselling and how that matches with the skills and experience of a counsellor.
- Email that counsellor directly and ask to schedule an appointment. You will hear back from them shortly.
You can also call the storefront at 416.792.4393 or come in to get help navigating the website and counsellor profiles. We will be happy to assist you in contacting a counsellor.
What can I expect from short-term counselling?
We offer short-term counselling that generally runs for 10-12 sessions. We limit service this way to ensure that we are increasing access for everyone and not creating another long wait list in the mental health system. For many people, short-term counselling is enough support to understand and take steps to resolve a mental health challenge.
In your first counselling appointment, you will meet with a counsellor and discuss what you are struggling with and what your goals are. For some people, short-term counselling will not be enough. In this case, your counsellor will work with you in the short-term to determine a path forward to get you the support you need from another counsellor or mental health organization.
Are counsellor's fees covered by my student or employer insurance?
The majority of the counsellors in the Hard Feelings community of practice are graduate level registered social workers (MSW, RSW). Their services are covered by many student and employee extended health benefit plans. Check with your insurance provider to find out about your coverage.
If you don’t have benefits and are paying for counselling, you can submit you receipts for clinical services provided by a social worker under the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC).
Is counselling private and confidential?
By law, information that is shared between a client and a health care provider cannot be disclosed without the client’s consent. In general, the following exceptions to confidentiality apply:
- The counsellor is concerned about suspected child abuse for which health professionals are required by law to report to appropriate authorities.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, we must notify the police and possibly inform the intended victim.
- If a client discloses an intent to harm themselves, we will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, we may need to take measures to ensure their safety (e.g., call family member, take client to hospital).
- Under special circumstances, we may be required by law to disclose personal health information (e.g., under a court subpoena).
- If a client reports a past incident of abuse by a health professional and discloses the health professional’s name, we are required to report that individual to their governing college.
Your counsellor will discuss privacy and confidentiality with you in your first session and you will be asked to sign a waiver stating that this has been explained to you and that you understand it.
What is a social enterprise?
Hard Feelings is a non-profit social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business that invests its profits in social good. In a for-profit business, shareholders receive dividends on profits. In a non-profit, the community served by the business receives the dividends on profits, in the form of programming, services and/or employment opportunities. In this way, a non-profit social enterprise builds social capital by strengthening community members and society as a whole.
Traditionally, mental health services operate on two levels: as for-profit businesses where private practitioners charge market rate for service and as charitable or public organizations where services are generally free. Hard Feelings is taking an innovative approach that lies in the middle of these two models.
Our social enterprise model will allow us to facilitate the delivery of low-cost counselling services through several revenue generating streams:
- Sales from the store
- Rental of counselling offices
- Donations and grants
If you have questions about our social enterprise, contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org