Byron Community Ministries offers low cost/no cost counseling services for Byron residents, those who attend a local church or people who work in our community. We’re currently finalizing details to expand our counseling services in response to the community survey results we received this past February.
The Byron Center community needs assessment was conducted by Byron Community Ministries in collaboration with the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Buist Community Foundation during the second half of 2015. It involved 578 residents filling out comprehensive surveys which asked them about their experience, perceptions and opinions regarding basic needs and more specifically, among other things, about their experience with health care. One of the categories included in the health care section was mental health.
Of the 578 respondents, 190 (38%) were identified as living at or below the 200% poverty level, and 86 (15%) identified themselves as being a caregiver for parents, spouse or another adult who was elderly or disabled. 578 respondents represents less than 3% of the population of Byron Township, hence it’s difficult to extrapolate with a high degree of confidence. When combined, however, with the perceptions from the churches and other non-profits in the community, many of the findings from the survey ring true.
In the area of mental health, 17.6% of all respondents identified their mental and emotional health as being fair, poor or failing. That number goes up to 19.6% for those at or below the poverty level, and up to 27.3% for those identified as caregivers. If these numbers are at all representative of Byron Township, they would say that over 3,500 residents suffer from some degree of mental or emotional health issue.
The Voice Byron Center survey identified several specific areas of need that could be addressed through a formal local counseling service. Those areas include:
- Career counseling
- Help with depression, anxiety, etc.
- Grief support
- Support for the Elderly
- Caregiver support
Other areas of need that have also been identified through our existing counseling service, as well as through our partner churches, include alcohol / substance abuse, sexual addictions, gambling abuse, domestic violence, counseling for marriage and parenting, and counseling for adolescents recovering from parent divorce, etc.
As a result of these findings it seems clear that Byron Township would benefit from a continued and increased local resource to address mental health issues, particularly for the under insured. As such, BCM has entered into a partnership agreement with Alliance Counseling Group of Grandville, Michigan, to provide such services at the BCM offices in Byron Center. This partnership will complement the existing services that BCM provides (Current counseling service provided by Joan Galinski, Meals on Wheels home delivery and on-site at the BCM offices, literacy and lunch programs for low income families, programs for single seniors, pantry for personal care, household and clothing items, financial counseling, etc.).
If you are in need of counseling services or would like more information regarding our other programs, please contact our office at 878 – 6000.