Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling — which provides counseling for anyone who works, lives and worships in the Tri-Cities — is seeing an increase in people requesting services ranging from depression and anxiety to grief and marital problems.
When people look for hope and work up courage to seek help, Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling Executive Director Sarah Lewakowski said she reminds them they are not alone and they don’t have to feel down.
“I tell people they don’t have to feel this way,” she said. “There is help.”
Lewakowski said they’ve gone from seeing five to 10 people each month a few years ago to between 50 and 100 a month now.
But it's not just here. The number of people seeking mental health services has increased throughout the country in the past 3-4 years, said Bob Carolla, director of media relations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
In 2011, Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling served nearly 740 men, women and children. About 51 percent didn’t have insurance covering counseling fees.
The agency provided more than $500,000 in mental health services on a $185,000 budget, Lewakowski said.
Lewakowski said they began seeing a spike in clients in 2010 — which she attributes to the economy, people losing their jobs and insurance changes that wouldn't pay for therapy.
“A therapist becomes a luxury,” she said.
Laura Hoogerhyde, a contracted therapist with the Grand Haven agency, said she thinks anxiety and stress of being out of work might drive some people to seek their services.
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