Local Non-Profit Offers Affordable Mental Health Services
Leslie Carrier talks with Andrea Bishop, executive director of the Ozarks Counseling Center, about the mission and the type of counseling services available there.
The Ozarks Counseling Center began in 1952 and was first called the Greene County Child Guidance Clinic. While it continues to emphasize counseling services for children, the center has expanded to also provide marital and family counseling, supervised visitation in child custody cases and mediation services. They receive funding from the United Way, grants, fundraisers and private donations but do not receive any local, state, or federal government dollars, according to Bishop.
She says, like many communities across the country, mental health services in Greene County are stretched very thin due to funding limits and lack of provider reimbursement. One policy change which could improve this situation, she says, would be to allow licensed practical counselors to be reimbursed by Medicaid, thus providing more counselors in the system. There is also a certain amount of stigma associated with mental health issues. Due to the many school shootings in the country, along with the recent death of Robin Williams, the conversation on mental health is beginning to take a front-seat position, according to Bishop. These examples all help to shed light on the critical need for providing quality care, which hopefully will result in better funding in the future, she says.