West Coast Hospice Provides Free Counselling with United Way Support 


When we’re struggling, we often reach out to friends or family.  Sometimes it’s for advice, other times it’s just to talk. 

But right now, everybody is struggling. Reaching out to a counsellor trained in helping people to deal with stress and anxiety, and aware of other local services, can be extremely helpful.  It can even be life-saving. 

Sadly, these services are not always available to everyone due to cost and availability. 

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Pacific Rim Hospice, which serves Tofino, Ucluelet, First Nations communities and others on Vancouver Island’s west coast, understood what its neighbours would need.  

The hospice was able to adapt an existing child and youth grief counselling program and make a counsellor available to their west coast communities for free because of support from United Way. 

Anyone experiencing stress or anxiety due to the pandemic can set up a 30-minute phone call or Zoom call with the hospice’s registered clinical counsellor. 

The service launched in mid-March and had seven callers in the first week.  

Callers ranged from long-term residents to young, transient adults and community workers. Most spoke of isolation and loneliness, grief around being physically separated from loved ones who are ill or dying, and employment and financial hardship. The counselling program quickly became an important service, with many repeat callers reaching out for continued support. 

But existing funding for the project ran out until United Way Central & Northern Island stepped in. 

UWCNVI directed a grant from the federal government’s Emergency Community Support Fund to not only keep the service going but to provide the hospice with money for an iPad to share with older residents and keep them connected to friends, family and services. 

If you live in one of the areas serviced by Pacific Rim Hospice and want to set up an appointment with the hospice’s counsellor, go to or call (250) 725-1240. 

You don’t need a referral, and sessions are confidential. 

If you are on Vancouver Island and need help, consider reaching out to the Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1‑888‑494‑3888. 

Important services like these are able to continue during this difficult time thanks to donations from people like you.

If you can, please consider donating to United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, and help your community.