MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – September is National Suicide Prevention Month. A local nonprofit is working to help people take care of their mental health in the middle of a pandemic.
For 40 years, Cornerstone Family Counseling in Manhattan has helped people with their mental health, now more than ever.
Cornerstone works to provide services for those struggling regardless of their ability to pay. They work with patients to offer discounts if they don’t have health insurance.
Executive Director Dr. Michael Welsh said they provide over 6,000 hours of therapy per year.
“The hope is that we can keep walking away from the stereotypes about mental health,” Dr. Welsh said. “And if anybody is even debating if they should go to counseling, the answer’s always yes. There’s no reason not to.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness. That’s over 46 million people.
Dr. Welsh said with the coronavirus pandemic, his office has seen an increase in the number of clients calling in and seeking care.
Office manager Carla Watt has also noticed the increase in patients.
“What’s really hard is when we fill up and it’s just…I don’t even know if we can handle all the people that are calling in every single day,” Watt said.
Cornerstone is currently working on a $1.1 million expansion project that would double the size of counseling they have to offer.
“I know it’s an investment and it’s ambitious to take on a massive project. But we have to future-proof our community and we have to make services available to everybody,” Dr. Welsh said. “It’s too sad that too many people are going without care.”
“You know, to say yes to people then feeling like I have to turn somebody away. That’s just hard when you hear part of their story and then you have to say ‘I’m sorry, we’re full, we don’t have anyone to see you,'” Watt said.
So far Cornerstone has raised about $50,000 toward remodeling and taking care of the property. They hope to be able to complete the expansion within the next five years.
You can see the blueprints for the expansion project here.
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