Gainesville Community Counseling Center Receives Community Grant
The Gainesville Community Counseling Center, a partner ministry at the Highlands Regional Ministry Center, was awarded a $158,000 grant from the Alachua County Cares Act program. The grant is a direct response to the increasing need for mental health services resulting from increased levels of depression and anxiety resulting from the pandemic. The Gainesville Community Counseling Center provides individual, group, couples, and family therapy. We offer evidence-based, low cost services to under-served populations, included clients from low socioeconomic levels, clients from minority populations (people of color, LGBTQIA+, homeless), and clients who are un-insured or under-insured. Our licensed clinicians utilize evidence-based approaches to assist clients with increasing their ability to regulate emotions, effectively manage the traumatic effects of systemic oppression, to develop the capacity to enact solutions to their presenting problems, to increase ability to address issues of addictive behaviors, to implement a healthy sense of self, and to implement strategies and approaches to address relationship/communication issues. A major focus during the pandemic has been responding to the increased requests for service from clients needing help to managing the negative emotional and mental health effects resulting from the pandemic.
Current research indicates the pandemic has resulted in a significant rise in the national levels of anxiety, depression, addiction, domestic violence, and suicidality. These results are reflected in the 180% increase in clients receiving services and an increase of 300% in the number of contacts (phone calls, emails, and website) requesting assistance with free therapy as well as requests to provide therapeutic services in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods where DV has increased and services are generally not available. The funds awarded will be utilized to cover the expenses of increasing internet bandwith needed to provide more telehealth services; to provide counseling scholarships to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured; to provide support for the salaries of the licensed clinicians and office staff who have been hired or will be hired to respond to the growing needs of those impacted by the pandemic; to purchase and convert a used bus to provide mobile mental health services to a wider range of those negatively impacted by the pandemic. The mobile mental health bus will be used to offer regular mental health services in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, the rural areas of our county, and in other areas identified by the health department as areas in need of such services.
Between January 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020, the GCCC provided over 2,200 therapy sessions to 417 unique clients. Approximately 10% of their clients are seen pro-bono, and an additional 10% receive services at our lowest reduced fee of $40. Staff consists of two full-time therapists and three part-time therapists. Because of the increased demand for services, GCCC will be bringing on an additional part-time therapist and two office staff to assist them with expanding the reach of their services.
Thank you Gainesville Community Counseling Center for your commitment to the mental health needs of the Gainesville community, especially the underserved populations.