By Jennifer Lane
Hardin County Independent
Sarah Newman, QMHP, is now accepting clients at the Hardin County Hospital Clinic in Rosiclare. The grant funding for her position is geared toward children and their families.
When many of us think of Family Counseling Center, Inc., we think of the intellectually and developmentally disabled adults who live in the three -soon to be four – CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) homes here in Hardin County, along with one in Pope County. We also may think of those who work at the Golconda Family Counseling Center Development Training workshop, greenhouse and resale shop, all there to help workers grow social, vocational, and life skills. The residential placement and work program for those individuals is a part of how Family Counseling Center serves our area, but the organization actually offers much more to all of this community than many are unaware of.
Family Counseling Center, Inc. provides Hardin County with a significant amount of mental health resources to anyone in the area. Sherrie L. Crabb, Executive Director of Family Counseling Center, fears that Hardin County residents might think that the organization’s mental health supports have been shut down due to the State of Illinois budget impasse and the temporary closing of the Elizabethtown office.
“That is not the case at all,” said Crabb. “We are still here, just seeing clients in a variety of settings – the school, hospital, city hall, community rooms, First Baptist Church of Elizabethtown’s fellowship hall, in homes – anywhere the client feels comfortable.”
Family Counseling Center had to move out of the Elizabethtown office (but NOT close down) due to major maintenance issues that are estimated to cost $50,000 to repair. Crabb said that with the current State of Illinois budget impasse and funding issues, it would be impossible to fix the building at this time, but is hopeful for repairs in the future. She added that the closing of the Mahoney Transitional Living, or Mahoney House as it is often referred to, for the homeless in Rosiclare was a direct result of the budget impasse.
In addition to the ongoing mental health support around the community, a new and exciting resource has been established for at least the next two years in cooperation with the Hardin County General Hospital and Clinic. This opportunity is privately grant funded by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation.
Sarah Newman, a Qualified Mental Health Professional with a Master’s Degree in Social Work is now holding office hours at the Hardin County Clinic in the offices next to Dr. Chatto, Pam Atkinson, and Sheryl Hicks. She is available Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. This mental health grant is geared toward children of all ages and their families. Newman has the ability to diagnose and set up a tailored treatment plan for each individual or family. If the individual needs further supports, she can refer to other doctors as needed.
Newman began accepting referrals and seeing individuals two weeks ago beginning January 23, 2017. Within the first week, she saw five individuals who were new to Family Counseling Center. Two of the individuals were considered being in crisis situations. By the second week, there were three more new individuals seeking support.
“Depression and anxiety is a struggle for so many,” said Crabb. “When Hardin County General Hospital completed its Community Needs Assessment a few years ago, mental health support was determined as an area of great need for Hardin County. Already, within the first couple of weeks, we are seeing those needs being addressed immediately with this grant funded program.”
Many of the patients have been referred by local doctors or practitioners through visits at the clinic or in the emergency room. Referrals are not required to participate in this program. Walk-ins are welcomed. If an appointment is desired, individuals may contact the Hardin County Hospital Clinic at 618-285-2800 to set up an appointment with Newman.
Crabb explained that the school administrators also have an important responsibility to access, refer, or educate parents of students with behavioral or mental health needs to the Family Counseling Center.
“Especially in the school’s case, it’s important for administrators to try mental health supports and resources locally before they consider sending students to other costly programs outside of the district,” said Crabb.
If you find yourself in a crisis situation and need mental health help, the Family Counseling Center has a Crisis Hotline that is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The number is 618-658-2611 and you will always get to speak to a Qualified Mental Health Professional and never an answering machine. Crabb emphasized, “We (at FCC) are no different than anyone we are seeing. We all have problems and go through hard times, FCC is here to help.”
Currently there are four Qualified Mental Health Professionals that service Hardin County. If an individual is uncomfortable meeting at the doctor’s office or a certain location, the counselors will work to find a better location.
Family Counseling Center, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization. Any insurance will be accepted, but no one is turned away if he or she do not have insurance or cannot pay insurance co-payments.
“Everyone needs help at one point or another in life,” said Crabb, from experience. “We get stressed, anxious and worried because of many different factors – poor health, loss of a loved one, job loss, financial issues, etc. It’s the same concept as going to the doctor for a physical ailment. We go to get help to relieve the pain and to feel better. Mental health issues should be treated the same. They are just as important as physical ailments and can cause as much harm if they are left untreated. Think of it as if someone goes to the doctor for the flu. After successful treatment that person recovers and goes on with his or her life.” As an elementary school student at Hardin County, Crabb accessed mental health services from Family Counseling Center during her parents’ separation and short-term placement in a foster home. With the help of those supportive services and her own personal development of resiliency, Crabb was able to overcome adversity and challenges in her young life.
Crabb also added that Hardin County has a great resource to those who have fallen prisoner to drug addiction. Family Counseling Center confidentially addresses those who are needing to get help and take a step in the right direction. Hardin County, unlike most other counties in our region, has Drug Court. Drug Court is a multi-disciplinary team that provides intensive services and treatment to individuals with drug-related offenses, in lieu of traditional justice system case proceedings. Both, former State’s Attorney Tara Wallace and current State’s Attorney Dan Cockrum fully participated in this program over the past few years. It’s a great way for offenders to take a step in the right direction with help and avoid prison time. It’s also a great alternative for taxpayers who would have to support another costly addition to the prison system.
Not only does Family Counseling Center provide much needed support and resources to Hardin County, but it nearly always has job openings at the three CILA homes within its developmental services division. Family Counseling Center provides free training. The full-time Direct Service Provider (DSP) position pays $8.75 per hour with full benefits. It offer Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance at no cost to the employee! Applications are available on the website, visit fccinconline.org and click on “Jobs at FCC” tab at the top of the page. Enter your information directly on the page.
For more information or to request services, call (618) 683-2461 or (618) 658-2611. To see a thorough list of services visit http://www.fccinconline.org. Visit the organization’s Facebook page: Family Counseling Center, Inc. to see links to youtube.com to view videos that show programs and services at FCC.
History of Family Counseling Center, Inc. (FCC): FCC opened its doors in June 1974 to provide mental Behavioral Health (BH) out-patient services to residents of Pope County. Although staff began by providing services to Pope County, FCC was also given responsibility for additional regions: Pope, Hardin and Johnson counties — primarily due to economics and demographics. In 1976, FCC became incorporated as a Not-for-Profit 501(c)3. In 1989, FCC expanded its program offerings to include Developmental Services (DS) for both residential homes and developmental training. The Supportive Living division opened its doors in April 2008, to provide quality senior living care. In August of 2015, Family Counseling Center, Inc. expanded its behavioral health footprint into Alexander and Pulaski Counties.
Sarah Newman, QMHP, and Sherrie L. Crabb, Executive Director of Family Counseling Center at the newly grant funded sight in Hardin County Hospital Clinic, already serving children and families.
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