Staff additions at a non-profit counseling agency in Mount Airy are enabling it to provide services on a full-time basis for the first time ever.
“We’re expanding and that’s just great news,” said Sally Estes, president of the board of directors of Blue Ridge CareNet Counseling Center on West Lebanon Street.
The addition of two professional counselors means the office can provide services five days per week instead of three, as was the case before the staff additions. It had operated on a strictly part-time basis since opening about seven years ago.
Blue Ridge CareNet Counseling is a faith-integrated non-profit professional counseling organization affiliated with Wake Forest Baptist Health, which has been part of the greater Surry County community since 2006.
The center can address a broad range of psychological, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues involving individuals, couples, families and groups. Problems related to sexual abuse, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma and stress management are among them.
“We don’t turn anybody away because of inability to pay,” Estes, a Mount Airy resident, said in stressing the non-profit nature of the center. While insurance coverage is accepted, services are provided free or at lower costs for those who qualify. Nearly $30,000 in free and reduced-cost services were supplied in 2011, for example.
More than 1,000 hours of counseling services were conducted last year at the center, which is one of 14 such facilities around the state under the Wake Forest Baptist Health umbrella. “So we’re part of a larger network,” Estes said.
The facility on West Lebanon Street is overseen by a local 11-member board of directors.
The centers in the network tend to be in larger cities, but Mount Airy’s proximity to Winston-Salem, where Wake Forest Baptist Health is based, is believed to have led to Blue Ridge CareNet Counseling’s presence here.
The additions to the staff include Linda Gatchel, a licensed clinical social worker who has many years of experience in both private practice and community behavioral health.
Most recently, Gatchel was an outpatient clinical counselor at Daymark Recovery Services. Her experience also includes work as a grief counselor at Hospice of Surry County. Gatchel, who has a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University, will have full-time office hours at Blue Ridge CareNet Counseling Center on Monday through Friday.
The other new counselor, Orita McCorkle, will work on a part-time basis at the center on Wednesdays. A graduate of Wake Forest University’s dual master’s degree program in divinity and counseling, McCorkle’s specialty is clinical services.
Gatchel and McCorkle are joining the existing counselors, Joseph Alexander, presently in the center on Mondays and Fridays, and Adrienne Reich, who is now on maternity leave.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.