By: Chad McCoy, LPC, Assistant Executive Director
Consider for a moment a couple of truths: Early identification is the best indicator for a positive outcome and people are living much longer than ever before. If you agree with these truths and the evidence that supports them, please continue reading. If not: You can give me a call at 405-341-3554 (but remember I charge by the hour).
With the advances in science, technology, and access to health care, people now live longer. In order to make the best of that longevity, we need to be able to correctly identify mental health issues, increase access to these services, and keep these services cost effective. Important here is that prevention will always be more cost effective than treating a serious illness or disease.
With counseling, unlike physical health, there is no magic bullet. There is rarely a particular pill that will render you 100% cured. Sure, we have medications that can help, but make no mistake, Medication + Therapy = Gold Standard. The power within the counseling office comes from a couple different approaches. They include counselors who rely on the most recent up-to-date scientific evidenced methods to help treat mental health issues, and the relationship between the counselor and the individual. We can identify the types of characteristics which lead to effective counseling and counselors. However, when you add another individual with different characteristics the chemistry may or may not be successful. Having greater access to services allows for a greater pool of counselors and increases the chances of finding a “proper” fit. We try to match clients and counselors based on a wide variety of characteristics tailored to meet each client’s needs and the areas of expertise within our clinical staff. A greater pool of counselors and variety of services provides the best opportunity for early intervention.
This is our goal, but there is a barrier to achieving the goal of best practices for this community. A familiar threat to non-profits including Edmond Family Counseling has reared its ugly head again: Funding. It’s no surprise to anyone with a television or that reads a newspaper that our state continues to struggle creating revenue. Through that struggle, more and more programs are cut; not only from health services but also mental health care services. Because of these continued cuts, fewer providers are available. With fewer providers available, the earliest interventions, and the most cost effective may no longer be available. Eliminate these services and we have the prospect of lives not fully lived, and a community in peril. In fact, quality of life for individuals and the whole community may suffer greatly due to needs being met too late, or tragically, not at all.
Even though effective counseling has its barriers, no threat is greater than that of losing access to services and funding sources. Prevention is necessary to address the need that 1 of every 4 people will have during their lifetime, that of mental health. Edmond has historically voiced its support for community mental health, and for that, this agency is deeply grateful. If we can be of service to you, please give us a call or go to our website, http://edmondfamily.org. There you can explore options, find ways to get involved, and follow our blog.