BARRIE, ONT. -- A Tiny Township-based mental health service provider is celebrating its fifth anniversary by offering a day of free virtual talks.

North Simcoe Therapy Network (NSTN) first opened up its doors on June 6, 2016. It offers a variety of different services, including psychotherapy and OHIP-covered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy groups.

"One of the reasons we started NSTN was to make sure that there was an alternative for those that have not had success with other mental health providers and services," said Sarah Durant, the founder and clinical director. "So we want to find the right fit for everyone that reaches out to us."

Durant says the last year has brought challenges for both staff and their clients. It has been operating on a total virtual model, with plans to welcome clients back for in-person services when it's deemed safe.

NSTN typically sees a decrease in demand for its services during the spring from those seeking support for mental health struggles but says that for the first time, demand has risen over the last few months. The rise in need comes as it prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary with a day of free, virtual talks with a team of professionals on June 6.

"We thought by providing a free day of mental health and wellness focussed sessions, we could do something in return for people and perhaps get the word out there that there are services that are accessible to people who may be suffering and not be aware of what's out there," said Durant.

One of the speakers is Juliana Lelli, who completed her grad placement at NSTN. She will be addressing support available for children and families.

"We can definitely see the impact of COVID on family children," says Lelli. "We see a huge rise in anxiety, of social anxiety with the isolation guidelines, and so we're hoping to support families with information about how to handle it."

While acknowledging it has been a challenging year, Durant says that NSTN will support those who need it, even guiding them elsewhere if it is a service that it doesn't offer.

"A lot of times, people will come to us feeling very defeated," says Durant. "They will have already tried a number of different resources to address their struggles. There are lots of things that can still be done and not to give up!"

For more information on Sunday's event, you can click here.