When it comes to community building, one of the more ignored components is the mental health of the people in it. This is a big oversight since several community problems can be traced back to issues in their lives. This is where offering free or affordable counseling can be a big help to them. For example, suicidal community members can be helped with their negative mindset. The problem is that nonprofit counseling services can be a challenge to set up. To help with things, here are some tips that should make things easier
Setting Things Up
Before anything else, offering anything that involves medical care will not be easy to set up. This is because of liability. Even free counseling can have its risks. For example, after a counseling session, a young teen attempts to commit suicide. While this could have other potential reasons, the teen’s parents can focus on the counseling session as a trigger for the suicide attempt. They can use this to sue for malpractice. To avoid this happening, you need to protect your free counseling service with legal waivers. You might also need to get some insurance, mostly because some states might require liability insurance for it.
What To Offer
Counseling covers a lot of things. Offering it for free for everything is going to be difficult. Your nonprofit’s goals also limit your options. You need to specify what sort of counseling you can offer to ensure an audience for it. There are several choices that you can offer depending on what your nonprofit’s aim is.
For example, before that young bride wears that braided diamond engagement ring, premarital counseling is a good idea. This is a good choice for nonprofits that focus on women’s rights and freedoms. Nonprofits that focus on suicide and mental health have a more obvious choice.
Getting The Right People
Once you decide on what to offer, you need to hire the right people for it. But a free counseling job can be a hard sell. You will likely have to depend on volunteers for this. To attract these volunteers, you need to highlight the benefits of working with your nonprofit. For example, you might promote it to new counselors as a way to build up experience and improve their resumes. If your nonprofit has a good reputation, then working with you can beef up their professional credentials. Focusing on how you can benefit them will make it easier to sell the idea of working for you.
Letting People Know
Once you have the people to do the counseling, it’s time to let people know what you are offering. The simplest way to do it is by announcing it with notice. Most nonprofit organizations have open centers where people can drop by. Everyone should be able to see the notice, and word of mouth about it will help. You can also be more visible by handing out fliers in the community or running ads in the local media. This should be enough to get the attention of those who need help.
Screening Potential Patients
When you start receiving patients, you should implement some screening procedures. This places another layer of liability protection on your services. An initial interview can go a long way to ensuring that the people you plan on counseling will get the help they need. If your counselors feel they can’t handle the patient’s issues, they can refer them to other counselors. The initial screening is also a good way to set the expectations of those who come for counseling. Your counselor should be clear about the aim of the sessions so that people are realistic about things.
Providing Additional Support
Counseling is only one way to help with the mental health concerns of a community. While important, it doesn’t hurt to have other options available. For example, besides counseling, your nonprofit can start offering a support group for issues like addiction or something similar. Most support groups need a sponsor to function well, and your nonprofit can do it well.
Additionally, offering help with medication can also be a good move for your organization. Some psychiatric issues would be easily resolved with the help of some antidepressants and similar medicine. Assisting with this can be a big boon for the community.
Improving the mental health of your community can be a major help to it. Offering it for free is also a major economic help to low-income communities. The biggest obstacle in getting good help is the income barrier, and providing this service will make it a lot easier for them.