MSUM makes plans for homeless counseling clinicA free counseling clinic opening in January at Minnesota State University Moorhead aims to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents.
By: By Amy Dalrymple, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
MOORHEAD, Minn. — A free counseling clinic opening in January at Minnesota State University Moorhead aims to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents.
MSUM has been awarded a $135,856 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation to open a counseling clinic for homeless and low-income individuals.
Ben Erie, who will be the clinic coordinator, wrote the grant proposal after identifying a need among Fargo-Moorhead’s homeless population.
The community has resources that help homeless people with basic physical needs, but fewer resources to address mental health needs, Erie said.
“You can give someone three hots and a cot, but that doesn’t take away their depression,” said Erie, who earned a master’s degree in community counseling from MSUM last May.
Brian Smith, who directs MSUM’s counseling program, said the new clinic will serve a population that may be struggling with significant mental health needs.
“We can make a major impact with people that desperately need it,” Smith said. “It’s treating the disease rather than the symptoms.”
It will also benefit students in MSUM’s counseling program. Graduate students will have the opportunity to counsel clients under supervision of a faculty member. That will give students experience meeting with a diverse set of clients.
“They’re going to start their careers very seasoned,” Smith said.
The clinic also will serve low-income residents, such as people working minimum-wage jobs who may not have health insurance, Erie said. It will aim to serve people of all ages, including students of the Moorhead School District.
In addition, the counseling center will serve some MSUM students with adjustment issues or other needs that do not have a mental health diagnosis.
Representatives from Bremer Bank presented MSUM officials with the check Monday.
“This project seemed from the start to really have legs,” said Howard Barlow, nonprofit resource specialist for Bremer Bank.
The grant also will pay for bus transportation for clients to get to the center.
MSUM will seek other grants and funding opportunities to support the center for the long term.
The center will open in MSUM’s Lommen Hall on Jan. 9. The hours will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
MSUM will be the first campus in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system with a community outreach clinic, said Lisa Karch, a faculty member who will also serve clients in the clinic.
Amy Dalrymple is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.