Mental health affects every aspect of life – relationships, work, physical health, safety, you name it. Yet there are an estimated 10,000 people in San Luis Obispo County alone in need of mental health services who cannot afford or access them.
Since 1968, the Community Counseling Center (CCC) has helped to overcome the barriers that many individuals face to receiving the help they need. The CCC offers counseling services that are affordable, accessible and approachable, and these services have the potential to turn clients’ lives around.
Here’s an example.
When he was only 21 years old, John lost his wife to a military-related incident in Japan. He was left to raise their six-month-old son alone.
Upon returning to the Central Coast, the magnitude of the grief and pressures of being a newly widowed father took a toll on John’s mental health. He suffered from severe depression, suicidal ideation and poly substance abuse, and was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder by his psychiatrist.
After receiving a referral to seek therapy support through CCC for depression and grief,
John completed 15 sessions with therapist Walter Gilles through the CCC. He worked hand and glove with his psychiatrist and CCC therapist to successfully treat his Bipolar, and in the process stopped relying on illegal drugs to survive.
“It can take a while before the skills sink in – but with consistency I was able to make major strides,” says John.
John has since completed more sessions with the CCC, and is now pursuing a degree in computer engineering at Cuesta College. He attributes the counseling and medication management as key to allowing him to focus on education again and be present as a dad to his now four-year-old son.
CCC exists to provide individuals like John with the tools they need to manage their circumstances and live happy and healthy lives. Their mission is “to build and support emotionally strong individuals, families and community through affordable, confidential and transformative counseling, education and advocacy.”
In 2018, the organization will be celebrating 50 years of providing essential services – and launching a very timely Capital Campaign in this milestone anniversary year.
The current lease of their office space downtown is expiring in May of 2018 without a chance for renewal. Thanks to a generous gift from Vietnam Veteran Loron C. Cox, a new property has been secured downtown, but it’s in definite need of renovations. The goal of CCC’s Capital Campaign is to raise the funds needed to renovate this property, and to grow their services through the transition and invest in technological infrastructure to be able to serve even more community members in the next 50 years.
The potential growth is exciting, and the need is unmistakable. In fact, over the past year, the CCC received the largest number of inquiries and referrals in their history, and they know that there are far more people in SLO County who don’t yet know about their services that would tremendously benefit.
If you’re interested in supporting the CCC by increasing their capacity, you can donate on CCC’s website or contact the Executive Director, James Statler, directly at [email protected] or (805) 543-7969.