Mental health

To accommodate the city’s unfounded growth, a counseling center is eyeing a new facility and hopes to break ground soon.

The River City Advocacy & Counseling Center is fundraising for a new building off West San Antonio Street and North Live Oak Avenue. From 2018 to 2019, its share of counseling sessions doubled from about 1,500 to 2,800 as people seek affordable mental health care when health insurance will not cover them.

The new building will be about 4,000 square-feet to accommodate more counseling sessions and activities.  The plot of land was obtained through an agreement with the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital, which owns a piece of that land on West San Antonio Street.

The organization hopes it will break ground next month and to open the building at the start of next year, said RCA executive director Adam Robinson.

“There is an ongoing need for affordable counseling and if they don’t have insurance it could be upwards of about $75, $90 per session,” Robinson said. 

The center provides reduced-rate counseling sessions, peer support groups, life skills workshops and art and creative expression activities which provide free art supplies. 

The counseling sessions are about $20 to $60 depending on family size and income.

Robinson said many come to the center for anxiety and/or depression. They also come for help on relationships, whether it be for family relationships, friendships or romantic ones.

“We have to keep expanding so we don’t have to create a waitlist or turn people away,” Robinson said. “Primarily we will be doing the same programs that we do here, which is our community counseling program which is an affordable counseling program for those with low and moderate-level income.”

The center has four counselors and Robinson said it hopes to double that amount. He also hopes it increases its session amount to about 5,000 during the new facility’s first three years.

The center receives funding from the McKenna Foundation through its competitive grant, and has $500,000 from the foundation for the new facility. It also has an additional $200,000 from the Kronkosky Foundation. 

The center has about  75% of the new building’s construction funded, and once it reaches about 80% it will start construction. With so many community members relying on the center for affordable care, Robinson said it is pertinent that the community donates so the new facility can open soon.

“A lot of it is grant-funded,” Robinson said. “There’s a general appeal to the community, so we need to get out during events and in the spring continue to get the word out that people can make direct contribution.”

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