Are you worried? Do you feel alone or have any concerns and you don’t know what to do? Face à Faces can help. Send us your questions and we will do our best to reply to your concerns and provide you with different options to try. Your questions are completely anonymous. They will be posted on our website in order to help others who might be in similar situations.

IMPORTANT: IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO US, PLEASE CALL 514-934-4546. WE ARE UNABLE TO REPLY TO YOU DIRECTLY THROUGH THIS FORM. If you do not give us your contact information, we will post the reply directly on our website.

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Question from Meghan

I am a 19 year old full time cegep student in a program that will ensure me a degree as a Youth/Adult Educator in various social aid settings.
I have found out that I am pregnant and I want to go full term – housing and finances are my main stress and concern as I reside with my mother who is on welfare and I receive student loans and bursaries.
As an independent student i receive enough money to have a MAX rent of 475 all included..and that is pushing it (and the money stops as of May 2017 – leaving me with 0 income from May – August (if i am able to return to school)

I am looking for housing that my baby and I could reside in , whether or not i am able to stay in school and receive the financial aid or if I must go on welfare .. I am not even sure I am applicable to welfare.
I have met with various people but still have no real answers.
Can you help me?

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear Meghan,

Learning that you are pregnant has no doubt put much of what your future plans were into question! That is okay! Our lives can shift and change at a moment’s notice and we must adapt. Luckily for us, in Montreal, we are spoiled with resources, many of which are directed at your particular situation; a young woman, pregnant, in need of financial aid, a home, support, and stability.

I am going to run down a list of resources to get you started on this path, but first a few ideas you may consider: I see that you are presently living with your mother. I assume that the reason you are writing and asking for help is because you have already looked at the option of staying with your mother as you come to term and once you have your baby. I presume that staying with her is therefore not an option. I will make no further assumptions as your family’s dynamic and the relationships therein can be as varied and colourful as a triple rainbow! Family can be a great resource for a single mother; a well-off couple would likewise agree; they can act as babysitter, confidante, support, and educator to you and your child, with the added bonus of coming at no charge! This, however, is your decision to make. You will know what is best for you and for your baby.

As you know, as a full-time student you are eligible for loans and bursaries. This is a fair program for folks who plan to work once they are done school and so can begin to repay the loan portion of the grant. It is important for you to know that you CANNOT receive welfare (social assistance) while you are receiving loans and bursaries, and you CANNOT study full time if you are receiving welfare. This does not mean that you cannot study and receive financial support however; let’s look more at that now:

Here is a link directing you to the Québec’s Social Assistance website: http://www4.gouv.qc.ca/EN/Portail/Citoyens/Evenements/separation-divorce/Pages/programme-aide-sociale.aspx

Read attentively the criteria and how to go about requesting assistance; you will need documents, tax forms, and more to apply. However, before applying to Welfare – as it is known as ‘Last Resort Financial Assistance’- you will have to apply for a few other financial supports:

Here is a Federal program for parents: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/menu-eng.html

And the Provincial program: QPIP (Quebec parental insurance plan): http://www.rqap.gouv.qc.ca/index_en.asp

You may also be eligible for the following tax credits:

Solidarity tax credit: http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/citoyen/credits/solidarite/

Shelter allowance: http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/citoyen/situation/faible_revenu/programmes_Allocation-logement.aspx

If you work instead of returning to school, you can apply for: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/wtb/fq_qlfyng-eng.html

Here is a site which names the resource available to new parents and provides some details and the links for all financial aid offered Federally and Provincially: http://singlemotherassistance.net/financial-assistance-for-single-mothers-in-quebec/

As you can see, there is some money to be had without having to apply to welfare immediately, or relying on loans and bursaries.

Onto a new home for you and your bun! Face à Face can help you with that directly. One of our services is housing searches. We would ask that you call us at the Centre so that we can ask you about your criteria and explain to you how the process works. We are open from Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm. Our phone number is: 514-934-4546

There are many shelters out there for women either expecting or with children. Have you considered that with your limited budget a shelter, or temporary transitional home, could be a good option for you? Such places may charge a minimum amount of rent which generally covers your meals, activities within the house, and constant support. You could have resources and help directly at your fingertips.

Head & Hands is a community organization in NDG: http://headandhands.ca/ They do great work with youth; under 25 years, and even have the Young Parents Program! Check it out on the site! They also offer health services with a nurse, and a food pantry to help you out with your groceries.

Here are a few other resources you can have a look at as well:

Website full of resources and health tips for you and baby: http://www.montrealfamilies.ca/

Great programs specifically for single mothers to be: http://welcomehallmission.com/services/womens-services/?gclid=Cj0KEQiA5IHEBRCLr_PZvq2_6qcBEiQAL4cQ05j0eEwfBsfBUXFrHhw2gj1yn0T5WoZtmTKCcqRorawaAn2n8P8HAQ

Donations, food, clothing, furniture:

http://en.centredesfemmesdemtl.org/

http://www.ssvp-mtl.org/en

YWCA: http://www.montrealfamilies.ca/Montreal-Families/Directories/Family-Services/index.php/name/Single-Mothers-Program-Montreal-YWCA/listing/36584/

Well Meghan, we hope that this will be helpful for you now and in the future.

Know that Face à Face is also a listening centre and that we can take your phone call or an in-person visit at any point during our hours of operation. We are here to listen to you in times of need, struggle, or joy! Please do not hesitate to call us if we can help you out with anything else, and above all else, take very good care!

Question from Alex

Hello,

I have some questions regarding the eviction of people as “occupant”. I have moved in with friends without signing a lease with the owner. We have a verbal agreement which stipulates that the rent must be paid in 4 equal parts including all services (internet, hydro, hot water). Moreover, we had a consensus that smoking is done outside. Unfortunately, I smoke in the room I rent and the tenants (on the lease) want to expel me from the lodging. Since our agreement does not protect me in the eyes of the law, I have no legal recourse to keep the room (at least for a month the time it takes to find a place). I therefore face a period of homelessness) and I’m afraid that my objects will be stolen in the street. Is there a law that protects the safe storage of my goods (that I cannot “drag” with me on the street, like furniture, large musical instruments and televisions)?

Ps. I always pay my share of the rent

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear Alex,

This is undoubtedly a stressful situation you are facing.

From your question I can see that you have already done some research and so are aware that if your name does not appear on the lease, then you indeed do not have any legal recourse as an ‘occupant’. https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/capsules/la-colocation

It seems that your roommates have already formally decided that you must leave the shared apartment, but I am wondering whether they are willing to offer more leniency to give you more time to find a new place to avoid becoming homeless. Another option could be asking that they store your personal effects in the case that you are not able to find another place before the end of the month. Are your roommates willing to give you a second chance if you stop smoking inside the apartment as you had originally agreed to do?

Unfortunately, there is no law that protects your personal effects or that necessitates the storing of your personal effects due to the event of your being asked to leave your accommodation. In the case that you have property insurance and you have listed your musical instruments, tv, and furniture as insurable items, you may have coverage in the case of damage or theft. However, if you do not already have this insurance in place, it will arouse suspicion on their end if you were to claim anything a month or so after opening and account. https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/capsules/lassurance-de-biens-et-dhabitation

There are numerous storage sites across Montréal as well as off the Island. If you have a few cherished items that you would  not want harm to come to, one suggestions is to lease a small space with Depotium mini-entrepot: http://www.depotium.com/fr/emplacements/889-notre-dame-west They can offer you a small space for $44 a month.

Your most pressing issue though is finding yourself a new place to house yourself and your effects.  Face à Face can help with that! We offer Housing Searches at the Centre and would be more than happy to help you out Alex. We recommend that you give us a call at 514-934-4546 from Monday to Friday, 9h00-17h00, to share with us your criteria; Maximum cost, location, and size, and we will explain our procedure and begin a search for you.

In the case that you do end up without a fixed address, Face à Face can support you with getting back on your feet. Though it is preferable to act preventatively to avoid such a situation from occurring, we work daily with homeless and at-risk individuals offering them services and support; our staff and volunteers are professional and compassionate. In the case that you have a restricted budget, we can help guide you towards resources such as food and clothing banks, and financial assistance to supplement your needs.

Thank you for getting in touch with us Alex, we hope that this answer is helpful and that we will hear from you soon. If you have any further questions or need to talk, please do call us at 514-934-4546 or drop in at 980 saint antoine oust, suite 101b.

We are here to help.

Question from Melissa

I am an extremely emotional and anxious person. I have horrible anxiety that I have been dealing with my entire life. I usually get very anxious and this causes me to faint. I believe It’s my bodies way of escaping the situation. I am constantly in worry and on edge. I take everything my boyfriend says to heart. We have been constantly fighting, day in and day out, we both end up saying hurtful things and it’s tearing me apart. I feel like my world is falling apart. He also has an anger problem and when he gets angry I truly believe he is angry with me and I breakdown. Most of the time he claims that he isn’t mad at me, he is mad at the “situation” but by this point I am already emotional and taking it personally. I can’t live like this anymore. I want help but unfortunately can’t afford therapy. I don’t know where to start all on my own. This past week I have been extremely stressed and I have been getting a pinching feeling in my chest caused by stress and anxiety. Everything else in my life is amazing but i do live with my boyfriend and my relationship is causing me to be very emotionally unstable. Do you know of any resources or first steps I can take to get my life back ?

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear Melissa,

I can only imagine how hard living with anxiety and feeling emotionally overwhelming can be. I know it is difficult for you and you feel like you don’t know where to start. Contacting us was a great first step. I’m sure it took a great deal of effort but know that the energy it took to write us has not gone unnoticed and this can be the start of a positive change.

From your message it seems that you are not only experiencing mental and emotional consequences of your anxiety but also physical symptoms. I know you mentioned that you have been dealing with anxiety your whole life however physical symptoms such as fainting and tightening of the chest can be caused by a variety of factors.  It is always highly recommended that you see a doctor to receive an updated physical examination. You can also communicate with your local CLSC’s intake social worker in the social services department for an assessment. They will either talk to you over the phone or call you back to schedule an appointment where they will review the counseling that you are eligible for with the CLSC.

Besides the CLSC, there are also other resources that are available to you free of charge. Here at Face à Face, we have a listening line that you can call and speak to our trained volunteers about your situation and how you are feeling. You can also come in and receive one on one counselling for a period of 8 weeks with our social work intern, Mallory.

AMI Quebec is another listening line and they have support groups that you can attend. Here is their website: http://amiquebec.org/support-groups/

Revivre is a French organization that is specifically for individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. They also have a listening line and support groups; however, their support groups are only in French. Their website can be found here: http://www.revivre.org/home.php

If you are a student, there may also be free counselling services available to you through your university.

Aside from those resources, there are some things that you can do on your own and you can start right away!

    • Journaling can be extremely helpful to identify places and triggers that are affecting your anxiety levels. Keep track of how you’re feeling and give yourself a scale to rate your anxiety level. For example: On a scale from 1-10 (10 being extremely anxious) how anxious am I right now?
    • Physical activity has been known to help increase positive emotions and decrease stress. This physical activity does not have to be complicated or require a gym, something simple such as a 20-minute walk can start affecting how you feel.
    • Positive affirmations that are said multiple times a day can give you a nice boost of positive energy. Some positive affirmations include:
        1. Today is a brand new day, my past does not define me, my future is mine to create
        1. Today will be an awesome day
        1. I believe I can be whatever I want to be
        1. I can
    • Try to find the positive aspects in even the smallest parts of your day and remember the positive things in your life. You can even write a list to remind yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Remember to be kind to yourself, and be patient. You can either be your own enemy or your own cheerleader. Believe in yourself.

Remember we are always here to talk with you and provide some encouragement, call our listening line at 514-934-4546 or visit us at 980 St. Antoine Ouest, 101B from Monday through Friday’s from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We will be there for you.

Question from Sophie

Hello Face à Face,

I am a 30-year-old women and I suffer from depression. I have had trouble with it almost all my life but managed to live a normal life, married with two loving kids. However, I have been in a depressive state for over one year and lost my job because of it. My husband doesn’t understand why I am like this and our mirage is in danger. I feel hopeless, I have no one else to talk too anymore, and even my friends don’t want to talk to me. What should I do? How can I make them understand that this isn’t my fault?

Sophie

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear Sophie,

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, depression is “different than the “blues”. Someone experiencing depression is grappling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of their life can be affected, including their emotions, physical health, relationships and work. For people with depression, it does not feel like there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” — there is just a long, dark tunnel. http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/depression/

Depression is often accompanied by feelings of extreme fatigue, social withdrawal, disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feelings of hopelessness and sometimes thoughts of suicide. A person who is depressed may seem that they simply do not want to participate in their own life.

It can be difficult for others who have not experienced this deep despair to fully understand what you are going through. But you are not alone. 1 in 8 adults experience depression at some point in their lives. It is important for you to know that this is not your fault. The good news is that Depression is treatable. Here are a few options that you can consider:

See a doctor. Explain to a general practioner what you are feeling. Remember there is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. Your doctor will have most likely heard from patients feeling exactly the same as you. The doctor may prescribe anti-depressant medication or he/she will likely refer you to a psychiatrist. Again, seeing a psychiatrist does not mean that you are crazy or that you have something to be ashamed of. A psychiatrist is simply a medical doctor specializing in treatment for various mental health disorders. Anti-depressant medication may take 2 -4 weeks to work. Sometimes the doctor may have to try different medications and doses to find the right match for you. Patience is required for this period. It is important for you to be verbal and assertive with your doctor about the side effects of the medication and say what is working and what is not working. A good doctor works alongside you and involves you in all treatment options.

You may also want to consider modifying your nutrition. Give your body mood boosting nutrients such as fruits and vegetables. Perhaps consider seeing a nutritionist to give you suggestions for meals and vitamins to enhance your body’s capabilities. You may also want to consider joining a walking group. There are numerous benefits to walking, from increased energy to better sleep and muscular health. And, it may be an opportunity for you to meet new people and socialize more. Remember, any form of exercise tends to boost dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn affects your mood.

Talk therapy!! Weekly therapy sessions with a counselor or a psychologist may also help you reconnect with yourself and what is important to you. Perhaps your husband can join you and together, you may be able to gain a better understanding of what your marriage needs from both of you to make it thrive again. If you are unable to pay for private therapy sessions, there are many organizations that see people on a sliding scale. For example, The Montreal Therapy Centre offers couple’s counseling on a sliding scale. Their website can be found here: http://montrealtherapy.com

Or you may want to join a support group and discuss your experience. Ami Quebec hold support groups for depression throughout the year, here is their information and schedule: http://www.revivre.org/

Please remember that though you may feel alone, you are not. You deserve to take care of yourself and you have the right to seek treatment to help you bring you back to yourself. Your husband and friends may be feeling helpless and frustrated. Think about sitting with them and being very clear about the support you need. Do you need your friend to sit with you over coffee and simply listen? Or you may need your husband to speak to you without judgment? Be specific with your expectations of the support that you need. Then, let them know that you are trying to honor yourself and your relationships by voicing your needs and seeking the help that you deserve.

Be kind to yourself. And when you need some encouragement, call our listening line at 514-934-4546 or visit us at 980 St. Antoine Ouest, 101B from Monday through Friday’s from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We will listen.

Question from Broken Soul

Hi Face à Face,

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years and have been trying to get pregnant for 1 year. It’s been very hard on our relationship as it is causing disappointment every month. I have been tested for fertility and everything is aright but my boyfriend refuses to get checked. He also refuses to talk about alternatives like adopting. I don’t know what to do to make him understand that we need to look at all the options. Should I leave him and try to find someone else who understands more?

Broken soul.

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear broken soul,

The inability to have children is one of the greatest challenges that a couple will ever face. It affects people emotionally, physically, and financially. It can place tremendous stress on a couple’s relationship and on their relationships with family and friends.
http://montrealtherapy.com/dealing-with-the-emotional-impact-of-infertility/

According to Women’s Heath, Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older). A woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).

    • A man’s sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way.
    • The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation).

Infertility can happen if there are problems with any of these steps.

Infertility is a common problem, about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infertility is not always a woman’s problem. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women’s problems. Another one third of fertility problems are due to the man. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by unknown problems.

https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html

You and your boyfriend have been together for a long time and I can only imagine how frustrating and upsetting this must be for the both of you. It was very brave of you to get fertility testing, as it can be a very fearful and embarrassing process. As you know, risking finding out that there might be something wrong with your body is terrifying. As a human being we expect and assume our bodies to be capable of certain basic processes, one of which is reproduction. Sadly, not all couples can conceive easily.

As having a baby is something you want, you did everything you could. You stated that your boyfriend refuses to get checked and doesn’t want to talk about alternatives. Perhaps he is having difficulty dealing with a couple of issues: first, as a couple you are having difficulty conceiving and this has been very hard on your relationship. Second, since you have been tested and the results state you are fine, he might be thinking that he is not. It can be shocking and very upsetting finding something like this out. He may have to potentially give up his dream of conceiving a child naturally. The Montreal Therapy Center states that if one partner has the medical problem that is causing the infertility, he or she often feels guilty and may even offer to leave the other. At the same time, the infertile person may fear that the other partner will leave the relationship.

Infertility in men is most often caused by:

    • A problem called varicocele (VAIR-ih-koh-seel). This happens when the veins on a man’s testicle(s) are too large. This heats the testicles. The heat can affect the number or shape of the sperm.
    • Other factors that cause a man to make too few sperm or none at all.
    • Movement of the sperm. This may be caused by the shape of the sperm. Sometimes injuries or other damage to the reproductive system block the sperm.

Sometimes a man is born with the problems that affect his sperm. Other times problems start later in life due to illness or injury. For example, cystic fibrosis often causes infertility in men.

I have a few suggestions for you. Perhaps you can both take a break from trying to conceive and focus on yourselves and rebuilding your relationship. Try to get yourselves back to the happy place that you once were. You can also re-evaluate what you both want for your futures. Make sure that you both still want children. If your boyfriend still wants to have a child then maybe once you are both in a better place emotionally, you can discuss your options. If your boyfriend cannot move past this, doesn’t want to keep trying to conceive, and is not open to other alternatives such as adoption, you need to think about what you want. Will it be enough to spend your life with your boyfriend and potentially not have children? Or is having children something that you cannot live without? Perhaps consider going to couple’s counseling, The Montreal Therapy Center offers infertility couple’s counseling http://montrealtherapy.com.

I know it is hard but try to be patient with him, remember that you both love each other and have been through so much together. Keep in mind that he is probably hurting as much as you, possibly more. I hope you both take the time to listen to each other and that you find the strength to help through this tough stage in your relationship.

Keep in mind, we are here for you at Face à Face and if you ever need to talk, call us at 514 934 4546 and we would be happy to listen.

Question from Anonymous

Dear Face à Face,

I am a 19-year-old guy with a big secret and don’t know how to tell people. I believe that I am gay, I have been feeling like this for a very long time but don’t feel like I have anyone to talk too. I don’t have many friends and my family is not very open. I feel like I am alone in the world and it is causing me a lot of anxiety. What should I do? I am so scared that my family and friends will reject me.

Anonymous

Click here to see the Face à Face response

Dear Anonymous,

The truth is that you are not alone, many people have different sexual orientations and it is becoming something that more and more people are openly talking about. Although I know initially it can be extremely difficult to admit, your sexual preference is nothing to be ashamed of. You are who you are, no apologies. If you are initially worried about telling your family and friends, I would suggest starting with the internet and finding some resources such as Head and Hands, a local organization in Montreal, http://headandhands.ca. Head and Hands offers a non-judgmental atmosphere where there is counseling, activities, and even has an anonymous question and answer section online.

Talking on listening lines, chat rooms, or going in person to LGBT events will help you become more comfortable with telling people you are gay. Coalition Jeunesse offers a wide range of services for young individuals questioning their sexuality such as listening lines, counseling, and events to meet other youth and socialize. Their website can be found here: http://www.coalitionjeunesse.org/?lang=en

One great event in Montreal is The LGBTA Parade. It is a beautiful parade that many people attend regardless of sexual orientation. The parade will feature floats from hundreds of local sports teams, cultural and community groups as well as other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations. The parade will also feature both gay and gay-friendly businesses that join in celebrating the significant contributions of their LGBT employees and clients. Here is their website: http://www.fiertemontrealpride.com/en/pride/

This will also increase your confidence regarding who you are and other people’s reactions. When you feel confident enough, I would suggest picking one person from your family or friends and making a plan to tell them. Think about what you’re going to say and all the possible reactions they might have as well as how you will respond. That way, you will be prepared no matter the outcome. Then set a date and meet with that person to tell them. Once they know, pick another, and then another until everyone important to you knows. I know it seems like a daunting task but take it one step at a time. Face à Face will always be there to listen and support you on your journey, you can reach us at 514 934 4546 on weekdays from 9-5. Remember to be proud of who you are, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, or questioning, it’s your life and it is okay.