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By The Skanner News
Published: 10 May 2006

In just over two years of operation, the Wellness Project, a free mental health clinic in Vancouver, has treated more than 1,300 clients. In 2005 alone, it conducted approximately 4,500 appointments.

To celebrate its accomplishments, the Wellness Project is having an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at 317 E. 39th St. in Vancouver.

The clinic represents a collaborative community project that strives to meet the mental health needs of low income, uninsured individuals. Operated by CommunityServices Northwest (formerly known as Mental Health Northwest), the clinic opened in January 2004 following Medicaid changes that left thousands of low-income, uninsured individuals without access to mental health care.

With three full-time employees and one temporary part-time staff member, the project has drawn support from more than 100 volunteers who have combined to work more than 14,500 hours in one year.

All clients who apply for services with the Wellness Project fall below the federal poverty guidelines as established by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and they do not have access to mental health insurance coverage.
People who aren't eligible for the public mental health system or who do not have private insurance are eligible to apply for services at the Wellness Project.

The project aims to help decreasehomelessness, unemployment and use of emergency rooms. It also provides practicum students with quality training opportunities.

Financial support comes from Southwest Washington Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Vancouver Rotary Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, city of Vancouver, Clark County's Department of Community Services and Michael Servetus UnitarianUniversalist Fellowship.

Grants from the city of Vancouver, Clark County's Department of CommunityServices (Community Development Block Grant and Regional Support Network funding) and Jan and Steve Oliva have enabled operators to purchase the facility they formerly leased.

For more information, call K. Keiko Okahashi, program director, 360-546-1722, or e-mail [email protected] thewellnessproject.org.

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