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United Way House to provide mental health counseling; Service for adults, kids

By Staff | May 16, 2008

Next week, Cape Coral residents who have been receiving mental health counseling through Lee Mental Health in Fort Myers will have the option of obtaining counseling services locally.

The mental health organization, which runs the Ruth Cooper Center for Behavioral Health Care and VISTA Behavioral Crisis Services, announced that after Wednesday, there will be a licensed mental health counselor available at the Cape Coral United Way House on Cultural Park Boulevard.

“This is the first time in five years that we have had a counseling presence in Cape Coral,” said Jennifer Spencer, the chief operating officer for Lee Mental Health. “I think the need has always been there, but our collaboration allows us to get this going again.”

An available counselor in the Cape was made possible by a collaboration between the United Way and the Cape Coral Community Foundation. The position will be funded from a grant received from the community foundation.

Local residents will have access to counseling services for adults and children in an individual or group setting.

In order to qualify, interested individuals will have to go to the Ruth Cooper Campus at 2789 Ortiz Ave. in Fort Myers to be assessed. After the assessment, the individuals are referred to the counselor in the Cape.

“It all depends on what is convenient, where they live or work,” said Spencer.

The center is also offering anyone who has been receiving care at Ruth Cooper or VISTA the opportunity to transfer to the Cape if it is more convenient for them. Individuals with a local address have been notified of the transfer option.

During the assessment process at Ruth Cooper, clients can sit down with a financial counselor to determine how much the services will cost and how best to pay for them. Fees may be adjusted for some clients, while Medicaid and Medicare are accepted.

People receiving counseling services at the Cape Coral United Way House can also be referred to other resources throughout the community, including the Southwest Florida Addiction Services or the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Our partnerships give opportunities as time goes on for people to receive other services through agencies coming into the United Way house,” said Spencer.

Depending on future funding or growing need in the community, the city may receive additional mental health counselors in the future.

For information on the services through Lee Mental Health Center, visit: leementalhealth.org.