The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital supports Provident Behavioral Health with a community grant that helps fund a walk-in counseling center that provides affordable therapy to underserved populations.
A 13-year-old girl, who struggled with memories of long-term sexual molestation by a relative, blamed herself for the abuse. She was depressed, unable to sleep and was having trouble communicating with and trusting others, particularly adult male figures including her father.
Concerned about his daughter, the teen’s father took her to Provident Behavioral Health’s Access Center for counseling. Thanks to therapy, the girl realized that she was the victim rather than the perpetrator and was able to develop self-esteem, improve her social and communications skills, and build relationships with her father and other family members.
This is just one of many patients who have been helped by the Access Center, which provides walk-in and same-day appointments to patients regardless of their income level or access to insurance. As a result, patients do not have to be placed on a waitlist to see a therapist or seek emergency room care during a mental health crisis.
Through the power of philanthropy, The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital is able to support the center with a community grant that helps pay for the costs of the center’s clinical staff. These awards are made to organizations that further Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s mission to take exceptional care of people and improve the health of our communities.
A Safe Place to Ask for Help
“Funding for the Access Center allows us to provide timely, compassionate therapy to individuals that otherwise may not be able to obtain services,” says Brianna Massie, associate director of counseling, who explains that the center “bridges a gap for affordable, quality mental health services and provides our community with a safe place to ask for help.”
Provident Behavioral Health, which has three locations in the St. Louis area, provides high-quality behavioral health services to underserved populations. This includes youths, adults and seniors at risk of mental health issues and suicide; individuals with challenges accessing mental health services for reasons such as geographical location, stigma, transportation, and limited mental health resources; and individuals with financial barriers, including inability to afford mental health services due to financial resources or insufficient insurance.
The Access Center is in Provident’s downtown location, which also houses administrative offices and other counseling services. The center was launched in the fall of 2019 with a limited budget. However, the following year, it received the Foundation community grant covering the costs of clinical staff. After receiving the award, Provident was able to leverage it to obtain significant contributions from two major donors.
The Access Center had to temporarily stop taking new clients between April and July 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however active clients continued to receive services by telephone or telehealth. Since its launch, the center has served 196 clients, including 108 who received counseling between January and June 2021.
The age of clients range from 5 to 77, with 19% aged 19 and younger. Patients came from 39 zip codes with 40% of clients having household incomes of less than $30,000.
The Access Center provides the following:
Counseling, case management, and 24/7 telephonic support for both children and adults.
Appointments starting at $5, with fees based on a sliding scale.
Appointments on a first-come, first-served basis.
Counseling aimed at resolving the immediate crisis but to also coordinate longer-term care.
Patients receive counseling from master’s degree-level students who are overseen by a licensed therapist. So far, 13 student therapists have been trained, some of whom have moved on to become Provident staff members (therapists and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners) upon graduation of their master’s degree programs.
“We are extremely grateful to the Foundation for its support and strongly feel the Access Center helped keep individuals out of emergency departments,” Provident says in its report. “The grant has an impressive return on investment, especially considering most of our clients were connected to other services including longer-term counseling, psychiatric services, case management or other assistance.”