Deep breaths. They’ve been helping us get through the past fifteen months of the pandemic and they’ve also been helping YW Calgary clients, including a mother and daughter who came to us recently for support.

Elena, a single mom, lost her job as a restaurant server. Then, schools closed and her nine-year-old daughter, Chloe, was at home full-time in their small apartment. Elena constantly worried about how she was going to pay her bills and keep food on the table while caring for Chloe.

Elena would usually lean on her mom in tough times, but with social distancing restrictions, she couldn’t come to their apartment. She needed her mom’s care and support. And Chloe needed her Grandma’s comforting hugs. Elena had never felt so alone.

The stress kept building until she could barely get out of bed. Chloe became withdrawn, and their relationship grew tense. It all became too much to bear.

Desperate for help, an online search led Elena to YW Calgary’s counselling line. One of our frontline staff, Mary, answered her distressed call.

“Elena needed a lifeline – she needed someone to care about her struggles and help her work through them. She worried about the cost, and was so relieved that our service was free.”
– Mary, Counselling Support, YW Calgary

After several online counselling sessions, Elena started feeling like herself again. Wanting to improve her relationship with Chloe, she took her counsellor’s recommendation and signed up for YW’s Mindful Moments program where they could both learn coping strategies for stressful situations.

“Our virtual Mindful Moments sessions are a time to de-stress. I can connect with other parents, and Chloe can talk to kids her age who are facing similar stresses from the pandemic. Now, when emotions start escalating, we remind each other to take deep breaths.”
– Elena, YW Counselling Client

Thankfully, more and more people are recognizing when they need help and are reaching out. As a mental health service provider, we at YW understand just how important it is to keep our phone lines open and be there for them. Because when mental health goes unchecked, the consequences can be severe and long-ranging. Jobs and housing are harder to hold onto. Relationships suffer. Dreams for the future fade away.

We’re so glad that Elena is doing well now, but the reality is, there are hundreds of other women like her who are reaching out to YW Calgary for support. Our team is committed to supporting and empowering women through this pandemic – and through the challenges that will surely follow.

YW Calgary is a soft landing place (if only virtually, for now) where women can start breathing a little easier. But we need you.

Contributions from caring people like you ensure that YW can continue to empower, intervene and lead when and where women need us most. Click here to make a one-time donation that will be matched up to 50% by Shaw Birdies for Kids presented by Altalink. With your help, we can provide women like Elena with counselling, parenting tools and other supports that enable them to not just survive, but thrive.

PS, We’re here for you, too. If you feel alone or need help during these challenging times, support is available. Visit or call our counselling line at 403-536-2844. Or, if you just need a little stress release, click here for a printable colouring activity.

For confidentiality, names of clients and staff have been changed.