Amount Requested: $7,500 for General Operating Support
Mission: In order to fulfill our mission of providing access to mental health services for all, Valley Hope offers low-fee counseling to local individuals and families. We provide individual, couples, marital, family and group counseling services for a wide range of mental health issues, and all services are offered on a sliding fee scale based on family income and number of dependents. Grant money subsidizes the program, allowing client fees to be low enough for lower-income residents to access the professional help they need to resolve mental health issues and increase overall functioning.
Constituents Served: Any community resident in Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro in need of counseling, regardless of income level, is eligible for our services. Our target population is local individuals and families who are lower income and/or uninsured and cannot afford to pay full-fee (typically $100 or more per session) for professional counseling services elsewhere. These are often the families who require the most help as they struggle with a plethora of needs and stressors. Valley Hope served a total of 503 individuals last year, including 80 under age 18, 60 aged 19-24, 164 aged 25-35, 124 aged 36-49, 62 aged 50-64, and 13 over 64.
Program Overview: Studies have found a direct link between the percentage of a population reporting they could not obtain health care due to cost and that population’s depression status and suicide rate. By providing a sliding scale fee, families and individuals experiencing financial strain at a time of great emotional disturbance are still able to access affordable help at Valley Hope. In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in clients’ symptom severity, which results in more time and energy to treat and manage. This past year also brought the highest number of referrals the agency has ever seen, an increase of 35% over the previous year. The vast majority of our clientele is lower-income individuals and families, and most continue to lack any health insurance coverage. Some of the increase in recent referral growth seems to be coming from clients who do have insurance but still cannot afford to access services because their plans either have no mental health coverage or the deductibles/co-pays are so high that full-fee counseling remains cost prohibitive.
All local needs assessments in the last decade have emphasized the great need for mental health services in our area.
There are only two organizations in this area that provide some similar low-fee services. Valley Pastoral Counseling Center is the agency that created our organziation in recognition of their limited funding for subsidizing fees. Valley Community Services Board is the local governmental agency that provides a variety of mental health services with a sliding scale fee. They provide the best and most comprehensive services for the seriously mentally ill who need additional services like medication or case management. However, there is often a long wait time to get in for counseling services for new clients at VCSB (sometimes up to 3 months) and there are some services, such as couples counseling, that they do not provide. Valley Hope gets regular referrals from both of these agencies for clients they cannot accommodate or would be better served at our agency.
Current Operating Budget: $139,390