Samaritan helps woman stop self-harm

Rachael* was desperate for help. She had tried stopping cutting her legs and stomach and burning her wrists with cigarettes, but the compulsion to self-harm was too strong. She had been in therapy before, but without seeing the results she wanted.

She called Samaritan Counseling and Growth Center, a United Way partner agency, for an appointment.

“I’m living in hell and want out,” Rachael told her therapist. She said only her Catholic faith had kept her from committing suicide. When her emotional pain became too great, the only way she had to deal with it was to hurt herself.

Her therapist began working with her on the unresolved pain from her past, and Rachael connected with her and made tremendous progress. She has been able to stop self-harm, and has built a support network around herself. Rachael returned to college, where she is making friends and thriving academically.

“I now have a hope for a bright future,” Rachael said.

Rachael did not have insurance that covered behavioral health or the money to pay for the sessions herself, but she was able to receive the help she needed thanks to a United Way supported program, the Helping Hands Project.

“Mental health is an important component to building a stronger community,” Bartlesville Regional United Way Marketing Manager Abigail Singrey said. “By meeting the needs for mental health services in our community, we are helping people have the skills they need to build a successful life for themselves.”

Mental health continues to be a challenge in the Bartlesville area, with one in five Oklahomans struggling with mental illness.

As part of its health initiative, the Bartlesville Regional United Way provides funding to three counseling programs at Samaritan Crisis and Counseling Center.

The first program, the Helping Hands Project – which helped Rachael – allows individuals over age 18 who do not have the financial resources to pay the minimum fee for mental health assessments and short-term counseling to receive services. Eighteen individuals benefited from this program in 2015.

The Samaritan Fund Counseling Subsidy allows those who are underinsured, uninsured or without financial resources to afford counseling services and receive the treatment they need. Last year, 120 clients received services through this program, and 492 hours of counseling were provided.

Washington Country Child Guidance Program supplies fee assistance for individuals ages birth to 21 with 12 sessions of short-term counseling or psychological evaluation. The goal of the program is children referred for services will develop the skills need for healthier living. Last year, 12 clients participated, eight psychological evaluations were performed and 66 hours of counseling were provided.

Samaritan Counseling & Growth Center provides services in Bartlesville and Northeastern Oklahoma to individuals, couples and families needing counseling or psychotherapy. Clients talk to licensed therapists in a calm, comforting environment.

“One of the best parts of Samaritan is the atmosphere of peace and tranquility,” therapist Janice Nitzschke said. “We have a really high satisfaction rating from our clients, who see the benefits of their appointments here. When we see them meet their treatment goals, that is so rewarding.”

*Name has been changed to protect Rachael’s identity.