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Men find New Directions at new counselling centre

People on hand for the grand opening of the new home for the New Directions men’s program on June 10 included: (from left) Brenda Boutilier, Karen Yorke-Gilbert, Ruth Currie, Dawn Ferris, Bea Buckland, and Dwayne Pike. Boutilier and Buckland are from the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services in Sydney, N.S.; Yorke-Gilbert, Currie and Ferris work at Autumn House; and Pike is the chief of police at the Amherst Police Department.
People on hand for the grand opening of the new home for the New Directions men’s program on June 10 included: (from left) Brenda Boutilier, Karen Yorke-Gilbert, Ruth Currie, Dawn Ferris, Bea Buckland, and Dwayne Pike. Boutilier and Buckland are from the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services in Sydney, N.S.; Yorke-Gilbert, Currie and Ferris work at Autumn House; and Pike is the chief of police at the Amherst Police Department. - Dave Mathieson

AMHERST, N.S. – Men who need counselling for abusive behaviours can now find all the help they need in one place.

“This space allows us to do everything from individual counselling, to approved programming, to workshops, to having drop-in hours to meet the needs of men,” Dawn Ferris, executive director of Autumn House, said.

On June 10, the New Directions men’s program opened its new office on the main floor of the Amherst Justice Centre at 16 Church Street, next to the Canadian Red Cross.

New Directions offers programs to men who want to live violence-free and abusive-free lives.

“Men used to take the program at the Autumn House shelter and it was intimidating for men to show up at the shelter door because they were worried about stigma,” said Ferris. “We had many protocols put in place where we locked down the doors, and, also, women might be triggered inside worrying about who was in Autumn House.”

The program offers individual counselling and a 20-session men’s group counselling program that focuses on changing abusive behaviours.

“With the 20-week group program we’d have to rent locations off-site every week of the program but now we can do it here.”

Karen Yorke-Gilbert is the men’s support counsellor at New Directions.

“We’re excited with being able to provide more programs and more services and more accessibility for the community,” said Yorke-Gilbert. “We’re increasing our programming to provide more option for men and meeting the needs in our community and creating a more healthy community.”

New Directions is one of three counselling programs provided by Autumn House.

“We have the women’s support counsellor, we have a child and youth support counsellor, and we have the men’s program,” said Ferris. “The three programs provide a holistic view of family support.”

The New Directions program can be accessed by calling 902-667-4500 or by email at info@autumhouse.ca.

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