Free mental health services may soon be available near you – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

If you are thinking about suicide, are concerned about a friend or loved one, or want emotional support, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255.

Dozens of people chose free therapy appointments that Louisville Metro’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, or OSHN, reserved last month for people with racial, domestic and sexual trauma.

Nannette Dix, of OSHN’s Trauma Resilient Communities initiative, or TRC, said the goal was to specifically encourage men of color to seek treatment.

“They are the ones with the highest incidence of suicide. Their rates here in Kentucky were higher than the national average,” Dix said. “But the free therapy is for everyone.”

But she said only about a third of the people who chose counseling were part of the intended audience. Dix said what’s missing is convenience and consistency.

“We were still asking people to get outside of their comfort zones to seek treatment,” Dix said. “You need to have the right services in the communities most affected.”

Last year more than 150 people died by suicide in Jefferson Countyand the vast majority of them were black, Latino, or Indigenous men under the age of 25.

“The increase in community violence, the impact of racial trauma and COVID all played a role in collectively traumatizing and exhausting communities of color, physically, mentally and spiritually,” said Dix.

TRC is an effort made possible by federal funding of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It focuses on removing barriers to trauma-based care and ensuring that staff working directly with young people and families are well-informed on how to approach different situations with care and sensitivity. Another goal is to ensure that services are available and accessible to those who need them most.

Dix said the city will offer free mental health services to six Neighborhood Place locations in south and west Louisville early next year.

The exact launch date for this has not been confirmed, but Dix said the expected rollout is January 2023. In the meantime, residents can still schedule free counseling appointments, both in person and over the phone, by calling the Trauma Resilience Hotline at 502-901-0100.

Other mental health resources:

  • Spalding University Collective Care Center – 502-792-7011 – Free therapy for those who have experienced race-based trauma
  • WAVE-3 “It’s Your Life” Youth Helpline – (866) 589-8727 – A link to specially trained peer counselors

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