Barnabas Center is the place to go in Nassau County when facing a crisis. It is a hub providing comprehensive community assistance that connects individuals and families to services that help them overcome crises and achieve self-sufficiency. In 2015, WGA awarded Barnabas a two-year grant ($110,000) to expand mental health services for women who have gone through a major life event and want support, encouragement and ideas for a healthier life.
Q. What is special about this grant?
According to Linda Ellis, Barnabas chief program officer, “The goal of our Women’s Health Initiative Nassau (WHIN) is to help women improve their well-being by focusing on their strengths and resilience. It differs from other community agency services because we’re developing strong peer support groups and using alternative therapies, which incorporate life skills and self-reflective journaling.”
Q. How do you help clients?
From November 2015 through December 2016 Barnabas provided support to 182 women with an average of three interventions per participant. The women range in age from 18 to 78 years. The original goal of serving 125 women has been exceeded.
This project exemplifies collaboration. Through the WHIN program women facing crisis are served through:
- Weekly Life Skills Groups with women living in the community and women incarcerated in the Nassau County Jail;
- A Journaling Group that meets monthly at Micah’s Place, our Nassau County’s domestic vio-lence shelter, for trauma healing;
- Individual counseling; and
- An art therapy intervention in which interested women create a “self-portrait” art project.
Q. What do participants have to say?
“My family does not support me in trying to have a new life. I am glad that you do.”
“Thank you for doing this. Writing is helping me get the painful feelings out where I can do something about them.”
“I see that what we are doing is helping me understand myself better.”
Kudos to Barnabas! They are doing a great job managing WGA funds for their WHIN program. The leadership team and mental health counselor are impressive, continually thinking about how to reach more women and tweak what they do to meet the needs of their target groups.