After a hiatus of nearly a decade, Family Service Center is again offering community counseling services with a boost from the University of Illinois Springfield.
“By leveraging the resources we have here and in the community, we hope to respond to the unmet mental health needs,” said Erin Predmore, executive director of Family Service Center, 730 E. Vine St.
The program is geared toward helping those on fixed incomes or who don’t have insurance to cover counseling, she said.
“People don’t have a place where they can afford to go for community counseling,” she said. Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois must follow Medicaid eligibility rules in providing services “and doesn’t have space for everybody,” she said. That doesn’t provide for a person going through a divorce or struggling with a difficult child, she added.
The program will use master’s degree-level interns from the UIS Department of Human Development Counseling working under the supervision of a licensed counselor with more than 15 years’ experience.
Predmore said Family Service Center already has been doing counseling with foster children, their biological parents and foster parents.
It last offered community counseling “seven or eight” years ago but had to discontinue the program because it couldn’t sustain itself financially, Predmore said.
The organization had searched for grant money to restart the counseling program, but to no avail.
“They said, ‘Let’s just find the resources to do it ourselves,’ and contacted our program,” said Ann McCaughan, associate professor of human development counseling and clinical experience coordinator for the UIS program. “It sounded like an awesome opportunity for our students, working with real-world situations and people who need our services.”
“It’s neat when students can provide services to people who otherwise wouldn’t get mental health care,” McCaughan said.
Four interns currently are working at Family Service Center, where appointments may be made by calling Paige Lees at 528-8406.
Fees are on a sliding scale based on federal poverty guidelines and are expected to range from nothing to $45 each session.
Predmore said such problems as depression, anxiety, relationship issues and the like can be handled through the Family Service Center program. People found to suffer from severe mental illness will be referred to Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, she said.
“All of us, regardless of income, go through times when having a counselor would help us recover more quickly,” Predmore said. “This is just a great opportunity for the interns and the community.”
Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510. Follow him at twitter.com/chrisdettrosjr.