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Naming a great need: Catholic Charities Counseling Services

In 2022 Catholic Charities launched its Counseling Services program, aiming to provide affordable mental health counseling services that honor the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. 

The Healing Space, a private and comfortable office in the Central Offices of Catholic Charities in Jefferson City, MO provides a calming and private environment for counselors and spiritual directors to meet with clients and friends.


In 2022 Catholic Charities launched its Counseling Services program, aiming to provide affordable mental health counseling services that honor the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. 

To that end, program director, Dala Hemeyer, began designing an offering that could welcome clients regardless of faith, culture, or situation, into a healing environment of mental health care with licensed professionals, that also acknowledged and honored clients’ faith journeys. 

“Dala’s vision for Catholic Charities Counseling Services was rooted in the value of honoring a client’s faith as a way of incorporating their whole selves into their therapy experience,” Dan Lester, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri shared. 

“We know the need for professional mental health care in our service areas, especially rural areas, is very high,” Dan continued, “and we see the incredible value of offering services that are faith-informed to honor that aspect of a client’s life.” 

Sometimes negative perceptions of accessing mental health resources can dissuade faithful Catholics, and other Christians, from pursuing mental health treatment.  

Ché Wilson, a Master of Social Work Practicum Student, came to Catholic Charities to see how the concepts of faith and religion interplayed with professional counseling services.  

“Trusting a mental healthcare professional with your needs is a very vulnerable step for many people,” Ché shared. 

As part of her practicum, Ché wrote a series of articles addressing the intersection of faith and mental health, which are slated to be published later this year. 

In the May of 2022, Dala addressed the diaconate community, the first cohort of Catholic Charities Parish Ambassadors. Her presentation – titled The Art of Accompaniment: Mental Health and the Role of Faith Leaders – underlined the mental health needs presented in parishes and how clergy can intercept those needs and refer individuals to trusted professionals.  

In webinars hosted for CC Parish Ambassadors one month later, 25% of attendees pointed to Counseling Services, the top choice of nine options presented, as the program that would best serve their parish community.  

Unfortunately, one of the highest needs is also one of the most challenging to deliver. 


“Trusting a mental healthcare professional with your needs is a very vulnerable step for many people.”

– CHÉ WILSON


In September, Dala discerned a call to step away from her role as director, bringing the program to capacity for accepting new clients. In the months since, Catholic Charities has actively recruited for a Director of Counseling Services and supporting clinical staff to reinvigorate the program. 

“We continue to recruit for qualified candidates with a vision for Catholic counseling services,” Dan said, “we know of the critical need for these services and the value of this program to the communities we serve – now we just need the right folks to take the helm.” 


WE’RE HIRING!

Director of Counseling Services