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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 1:00 am

Nonprofit now offers counseling

Master's students at IPFW giving time at Matthew 25

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic in downtown Fort Wayne now can meet another need of its low-income clients with the addition of mental health counseling service.

According to the nonprofit clinic's officials, medication for common mental conditions has been available for clinic patients after screening and diagnosis.

Now, the clinic will also employ talk therapy as treatment. The therapy will be provided by students in IPFW's counseling program in their final year of study for their master's degree.

The two counselors can address issues surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and family conflicts, as well as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

According to Dr. Bradley Isbister, Matthew 25 medical director, the combination of medication and counseling tends to be better for patients than either approach alone.

The combination “has a 1+1=3 effect, increasing the best outcome for our patients,” he said in a statement.

“By providing all mental health services at the same location, we can improve coordination and access to care as well as (treatment) outcomes and compliance.”

Ermina Mustedanagic, director of operations and development, said those who received a mental health medication from the clinic's on-site dispensary in the past were referred to Park Center for counseling or to a psychiatrist if they needed treatment for more complex conditions. Psychiatric referrals will still be done, she said.

As with all of its services and prescribed medications, Matthew 25's counseling is free for adults without insurance who live at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level – $17,820 for an individual, $24,030 for a two-member family and $36,450 for a family of four.

Allen County's only full-time, nonprofit free clinic offering primary care, including medical, vision, dental and specialty care, Matthew 25 takes no government funding. The clinic has 29 paid staff members and more than 500 volunteers. Donations are tax-deductible.

Mustedanagic said the clinic has been offering counseling since October on a trial basis. Besides staffing sessions with students, officials are seeking at least one qualified counseling professional to assist, she said.

Appointment hours are 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. The clinic is at 413 E. Jefferson Blvd.

More information about the service is available by calling 426-3250 or going to www.matthew25online.org.

rsalter@jg.net