Our Story

Hard Feelings is an innovative mental health organization, based in Toronto. We support a community of professional counsellors who offer low-cost therapy. Our retail shop sells curated resources that support stronger mental health. Our innovative storefront is a welcoming space where you can connect with others, engage in conversations that fight stigma, and get help in navigating your way to the supports you need.

Hard Feelings was founded by Kate Scowen, a Registered Social Worker with a background in community work. Kate’s goal in building Hard Feelings was to meet the needs of those who face barriers in accessing mental health supports due to long wait times, high private practice fees, and the complexity of navigating the mental healthcare system. She also wanted to create a professional community where counsellors could get the support they need to provide the best service to clients.

We opened our doors in September 2017 and enjoyed three years of exciting growth in a beautiful storefront in the west-end of Toronto. In response to the pandemic, we moved our store and counselling online.

In February 2023, we opened a new storefront at 353 Church Street, where we are now connecting with new communities, and expanding our community of practice to return to some in-person counselling. As we look to the future, we continue to bring innovation to the mental health sector that reduces barriers and increases access to stronger mental health.

Over 1,500 individuals have accessed low-cost counselling through Hard Feelings and the 35 counsellors who have worked with us in our Community of Practice. 


Hard Feelings Toronto
Hard Feelings Toronto

Mission & Mandate

Our mission is to bring innovation to the mental health sector that reduces barriers and increases access to stronger mental health.

We work with mental health professionals, community members, and partners to facilitate the delivery of low-cost counselling, curate mental health resources, and foster conversations that fight stigma.

Vision & Values

A world where everyone has the mental health supports they need.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

We acknowledge that mental health systems have adverse impacts on individuals and communities based on their identities and social location. In particular, Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities experience ongoing forms of exclusion and discrimination in healthcare settings. Hard Feelings is committed to learning and growing in our capacity to meaningfully address these challenges. We do this by reflecting on our work, listening to those with lived experience, changing policy and practice when necessary, partnering with communities and organizations with relevant expertise, and supporting the ongoing work of Truth and Reconciliation and decolonization.

To read more about our values, click here

Hard Feelings Team

Stacey Abellanosa (they/them)

Storefront Manager

Stacey started in December 2023 as the storefront manager at Hard Feelings. In 2022, they completed a Business – Accounting program at Algonquin College and managed in the food service industry for 12 years. They also curated events for the Ottawa area to help form strong and impactful connections within the community. Driven by empathy and compassion, they hope to share that same sense of community in Toronto and Hard Feelings. Stacey believes that safe spaces are key to having conversations surrounding destigmatization and that mental health resources should be accessible for all.

You can reach Stacey at [email protected]

Claire Angus (she/her)


Claire was a founding board member and has acted as the controller for Hard Feelings since its inception. She has worked within the non-profit sector for over 32 years in social services, health, education, supportive housing, and the arts in Canada and the U.K.  Claire completed her CPA while working for KPMG in Toronto and obtained her MSc in Charity Accounting and Financial Management in London. Claire is committed to supporting the whole Hard Feelings team in their mission to innovate in the mental health sector.

You can reach Claire at [email protected]

Elise Meertens (she/her) - Currently on maternity leave

Manager, Community of Practice

Elise is the Manager of the Community of Practice at Hard Feelings. She has been working with Hard Feelings as a Registered Psychotherapist since 2021, and has been providing support in community agencies, distress lines, private practice, and clinic environments since 2017. Elise completed her Masters of Counselling in Counselling Psychology through Athabasca University in 2018. She is passionate about increasing access for clients, and developing meaningful professional opportunities for counsellors. Deeply aligned with our mission, she enjoys sharing the vision and impact of Hard Feelings with others.

You can reach Elise at [email protected]

Kate Scowen (she/her)

Founder, Executive Director

Kate is the Founder and Executive Director of Hard Feelings. She currently oversees the growth of the community of practice and the online store, and leads partner relations and communications for the organization. Kate has been working in the non-profit and community services sector for over 35 years. She has worked as a counsellor, program manager, board member, and consultant for a variety of community-based organizations in Toronto. Kate completed her MSW at the University of Toronto in 2015. She has worked as a counsellor at George Brown College and Toronto Metropolitan University, and is a member of the community of practice at Hard Feelings.

You can reach Kate at [email protected]

Martin Seal (he/him)

Volunteer & Community Engagement Lead

Martin is working to grow Hard Feelings’ volunteer program and community outreach initiatives. Martin completed his BA in Philosophy from Concordia University in 2018, and a post-graduate certificate in Interactive Media Management from Centennial College in 2021. Martin believes in using empathy to open up conversations that lead to innovative and creative user-centric solutions.

You can reach Martin at [email protected]

Board of Directors

Rona Abramovitch, PhD (she/her) Co-Chair – Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, Board member on several non-profits in Toronto 

Annabelle Bernard, BA, MBA Diploma (she/her)Community Investment Manager, United Way Greater Toronto

Maia Bessemer, BA, JD (she/her) – Associate General Counsel, Corporate, Shopify Inc.

Jennifer Burt-Yanoff, MSW (she/her) Professional Practice Leader, Social Work, North York General Hospital

Maureen Carter-Whitney, LLB, LLM (she/her) Co-Chair – Member, Immigration and Refugee Board, Refugee Appeal Division

Trish Cislak, BA, B.Ed (she/her) Secretary – Head of Libraries, Crescent School / Director of Research, Crescent Centre for Boys’ Education

Michael Fitzhenry (he/him) Treasurer – Retired Consultant

Saisha Guzder, BA (she/her) – Digital Marketer & Brand Strategist for the Arts

Neil Price (he/him) – Co-Founder and Executive Director, LogicalOutcomes

Jazba Singh, BA (she/her) Policy and Program Advisor, Indigenous Education and Well Being Division, Safe and Healthy School Branch, Programs and Partnerships Development Unit, Ontario Ministry of Education


Maureen Fair – Executive Director, West Neighbourhood House

Cathy Mallove – Communications and Knowledge Exchange professional

Solomon McKenzieAssociate, McCarthy Tétrault 

Iris Nemani – McMurtry Family Director, Stanford Live

Dr. Micheal Shier, PhD, MSW, RSWAssociate Professor, U of T, FIFSW

Dr. Sarah Thompson, C. Psych.Director & Clinical Psychologist, Transforming Emotions

Financial Documents

Our Founding and Ongoing Supporters