This past fall, Grace’s Place Crisis Nursery added counseling services to its list of programs to help aid youth in Franklin County.

This new program will serve at-risk youth who are experiencing barriers to accessing mental health. The barrier to receiving counseling might be due to lack of transportation, familial support or other extenuating circumstances.

This also includes those whose mental health issues are impacting their ability to navigate everyday life, such as attending school, interacting with peers and communicating their needs effectively.

Counseling services can be provided in the home, school or in another environment where they feel safe to discuss serious issues.

“The focus of this service is to provide counseling to address and reduce the trauma the child has experienced,” said Amanda Jones, chief executive officer.

“Oftentimes, trauma can be lifelong if not properly handled, our goal is to make sure they have access to this needed service,” she explained. “With this program, we can meet the youth wherever they are, physically and emotionally.”

Jorie Moeller, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), will provide counseling services to area youth. She has been practicing in the field of social work for 13 years and has a wide range of experience including work in the foster care system, working with at-risk adolescents in a wilderness treatment facility, mental health case management and providing counseling services in an array of different settings.

“I believe in using a strengths-based perspective and working with clients to realize their full potential in living happy, fulfilled lives,” said Moeller, who is able to provide an environment of compassion and support to help individuals and families overcome obstacles to move forward and thrive.

Moeller received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Kansas State University and a master’s of social work from the University of Kansas.

“By providing early intervention counseling services, which can be accessed in any safe and private location, we are removing just one more barrier between the youth of Franklin County being able to access counseling and reaching their full potential to live their best life,” said Jacque McHugh, Grace’s Place board of directors chair. “These services can help them navigate adolescent struggles such as bullying, peer pressure, homelessness and teen pregnancy — all while also removing the stigmatism suffered by youth with mental health needs.”

Referrals for counseling can be made by calling 636-283-8769. A parent or another professional may make referrals to the program.

Grace’s Place Crisis Nursery is an emergency shelter for children ages birth to 18 years old. Children can receive care at Grace’s Place seven days a week, all days of the year, at no cost to the family.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of shelter for their children, contact us 636-432-1313 or visit www. GracesPlaceCrisisNursery.com.