April is recognized annually as National Mental Health Awareness Month, which gives me the opportunity to write about something that is close to my heart, both personally and professionally. For ten years prior to joining the Catholic Charities team, I was a practicing mental health counselor and forensic interviewer, specializing in working with children who were sexually abused. I know first hand both the growing need for mental health services, and also the life-changing impact counseling can have.

The need for counseling services was first recognized by Catholic Charities as the divorce rate among married couples began to rise in the 1960's. Being Catholic and experiencing a divorce can bring additional worry and need for support. Since that time, Catholic Charities' counseling services have broadened, both in the faces of those we serve, as well as the expansion of services offered. Catholic Charities is proud to offer counseling services in all six of our office locations, (Ames, Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Mason City, and Waterloo) staffed with graduate level, licensed social work and mental health professionals. Today, the need is greater than ever. We are not only seeing a rise due to the most common reasons people seek counseling services; depression, anxiety, stress, and marital difficulties, but other common reasons as well; addiction, parenting issues, abuse, and children's behavioral issues.

Catholic Charities is always seeking to help where we can. At this time, we are in the beginning stages of piloting telehealth service to reach areas in the diocese that may not have access to a counselor. Initially, these services are being offered in our Cedar Rapids office location, with plans to expand into other areas yet this year.

I invite you to learn more about Catholic Charities Counseling Services and staff by clicking here to visit our website.

Thank you for your support of this ministry and God Bless,

Tracy Morrison, Executive Director