The Marblehead Counseling Center, a nonprofit that has been around for more than 50 years, has around 300 Marblehead residents on the waiting list for counseling services.
With the 145,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding the non-profit counseling center currently aiming to hire two additional clinicians, where $40,000 will go towards one-time hiring and staff retention bonuses, to target the highly competitive environment for mental health professionals.
“Some people can benefit from working with a clinician, but they are not in a crisis situation so they would be placed on a waiting list,” said Ruth Ferguson, board president of the Marblehead Counseling Center.
“The issues around mental health awareness has increased; a lot of issues has crept up and the aftermath. So, there’s a very high demand for mental health professionals everywhere and that means it’s a highly competitive market, so when we are looking to find new staff or retain existing staff, they often have other offers so we can use some of these ARPA funds to either do performance recognition bonuses or to have a fund for signing bonuses for folks,” added Ferguson.
The Marblehead Counseling center currently counts includes 18 members with 13 clinicians offering virtual therapy.
The request submitted by the counseling center included an estimate of $50,000 of the APRA funding will go towards the purchase of a new server, network infrastructure, new workstations, and a new cloud-based software to help the center offer the best possible services in remote sessions.
The Center plans to allocate $35,000 to the exterior repairs and painting the remaining two sides of the building, and $15,000 towards the expansion of clinical office space, and $5,000 towards the outfitting of new office work.
“I think it’s impossible to deny that the circumstances of the last several years, particularly the COVID and then some people have had economic trouble and struggles and there are just a lot of issues that range from young people who have a difficult time to the transition to virtual learning and then coming back to families that have lost loved ones due to the pandemic. It’s just what most people probably see in the news, on their social media feeds, on TV, or however they hear about what’s going on in the world, there is a recognition universally but there is a tremendous need for services in the area of mental health.”
“We are here, we are in Marblehead, but the issues in Marblehead are no different than the issues anywhere else. We have the veterans with PTSD, with have kids with anorexia. We have child abuse in Marblehead. We have spousal abuse, we have depression, we have schizophrenia, we have just like Boston, Swampscott, Pittsburgh, you know, you name a community…” said Ferguson.