Later this month, the Ascension Counseling Center will launch the second season of its monthly Video Newsletter on Ascension21, highlighting the numerous services offered to parish residents.
Ascension Parish residents can view the program on cable channel 21.
Ascension is the only parish in the metro area, and one of two parishes in the state, that publicly funds mental health and substance abuse treatment services, Parish President Kenny Matassa said. The mission of ACC is to provide comprehensive therapeutic services to Ascension Parish residents in an effort to foster healthy coping skills that will improve their quality of life.
“We’re primarily a counseling center where you come in to see us if you have a problem, and we help you set a goal and show you how to reach it,” said Suzanne Hamilton, executive director of ACC.
The center is Ascension Parish’s mental health department and is funded by a 2-mil tax that provides for counseling programs and substance abuse treatment. While the program receives some revenue from grants, client payments, insurance and Medicaid, these funds are limited and do not support the agency’s operations.
“If people do not have insurance, the millage provides for a sliding scale fee that begins at $5,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said ACC provides individual therapy for children as young as 6, adolescents and adults. They also provide group therapy, couples therapy and family therapy.
Mental health treatment programs include treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma, work-related problems, relationship problems, anger, stress and victims of crime.
The center offers group counseling for anxiety management, women’s issues, parenting, smoking cessation and anger management.
ACC also provides psychiatric evaluation and medication management for clients who are engaged in counseling with a therapist.
Substance abuse adolescent prevention programs also are offered and include:
Toward No Drug education program
Guiding Good Choices (to help parents keep their children substance free)
Right Choices Life Skills class for adolescents
Intensive out-patient program
Substance abuse adult evaluation and treatment are available, including an intensive outpatient program for those who can’t take the time to go inpatient for treatment and 16-week treatment groups.
ACC provides intake screenings for mental health and substance use problems for everyone who is incarcerated at the Ascension Parish Jail.
The center also provides public outreach events with their Speaker’s Bureau which provides speakers for community groups, churches, civic groups, and professional groups on a variety of topics. They also provide mental health screenings and educational information at community health fairs.
Every month ACC provides approximately 450 services and takes over 257 intake screening calls at the clinic and the Ascension Parish jail.
Hamilton said ACC is a certified Medicaid Application Center. Other medical facilities in the parish will offer this service to their patients, but ACC offers it to parish residents on a walk-in basis.
The Gonzales clinic is at 1112 S. East Ascension Complex Blvd. The staff includes psychiatrists, counselors and a nurse.
For information about the agency or its services, tune in to Ascension Counseling Center’s Video Newsletter on Ascension21.
Information also is available on the Ascension Counseling Center’s Facebook page or at www.ascensionparish.net. Select “Departments,” then “M – Z,” then “Mental Health.”
Call the center at (225) 450-1016.