Boone County adults gain access to free therapy

2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago Wednesday, July 22 2020 Jul 22, 2020 Wednesday, July 22, 2020 3:02:00 PM CDT July 22, 2020 in News
By: Mackenzie Christian, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – Boone County residents impacted by COVID-19 will have access to free therapy.

The University of Missouri Psychological Services Clinic is offering adults up to five free sessions with a therapist, covered by funding from The Boone County Community Health/Medical fund. 

Megan Corbin Bania from Boone County Community Services Department said people can get teletherapy for any mental health concerns that have arisen with the pandemic.

A press release from Boone County Community Services said the pandemic has “increased stress related to layoffs or work changes, financial instability, health concerns, family relationships, parenting, social isolation, and changes in every aspect of daily life.” 

“Everyone is affected in some way,” Psychological Service Clinic Director, Dr. Debora Bell, said. “Help with building coping resources can make these stressors much more manageable.” 

If after five sessions the patient would like to continue on with therapy, they will be transitioned into an ongoing schedule with insurance help or an income-adjusted sliding scale, according to Bell.

“We are actually looking for funding though, for folks who again are financially stressed to help cover those extended services,” Bell said. “We know that five sessions [don’t] magically fix everything.”

Bell said though Missouri is several months into the pandemic, some people are just now beginning to need mental health services. She said some people were okay and handling the stress well in the short-term, but now it is becoming long-term and affecting lives more than originally expected.

“There might be some people who have been okay up to now, but are now stressed,” Bell said. 

The Psychological Services Center applied through CoMoHelps ,a collaborative funding group that includes the City of Columbia, Boone County, Veterans United Foundation, The Community Foundation of Central Missouri, and Heart of Missouri United Way. 

Bania said through the Psychological Services Center’s application through CoMoHelps, it was decided that funding from The Boone County Community Health/Medical Fund would be the best fit. 

“This need is going to likely continue just due to the pandemic and all the financial instability that’s happened,” Bania said. 

 “Any time there is such a big life changing stressor like this, it affects everybody,” Dr. Bell said. “Lots of people are like, ‘I’m good, I can cope with anything...life throws me all sorts of stuff and I’m good...’ probably life hasn’t thrown you this. Everybody has a reaction and that’s just normal.” 

The MU Psychological Services Clinic can be contacted at 573-882-4677 or adpsc@umsystem.edu

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