Counseling Center At FUMC Plano Extends Care Beyond Collin County

Wellspring Counseling

Members of the Wellspring Counseling Center include Angela Moore (LPC), Director Carolyn Maurer (LPC-S, LMFT-S) and Kerri Newman (LMFT).

Wellspring has provided more than 3,000 hours of professional mental health counseling to children, youth, adults and families

Since its incorporation as a nonprofit in 2020, Wellspring Counseling Center has provided more than 3,000 hours of professional mental health counseling to children, youth, adults, partners and families who would otherwise not have access to care.

“Wellspring started as a ministry of First UMC Plano in 2014, and our goal has always been to provide affordable, professional mental health counseling, particularly for those who can’t afford it,” Wellspring board chair Rev. Alice Coder said. The cost of a session ranges from $0 to $100, based on the person’s financial situation.

FUMC Plano’s location was ideal, as the church leadership and Wellspring staff noticed a gap in mental wellness services on the east side of Plano, and the busy cross-streets provide high visibility. Since the bulk of Wellspring’s mental health services are provided virtually, their area of impact now extends throughout Collin County and into Grayson County.

For Rev. Matt Gaston, senior pastor of FUMC Plano, the reach of this impact is vital. “The need for mental health care has always outstripped the availability and affordability in Texas,” Gaston said. “That need and that gap have become acute during the pandemic. Depression, family violence and suicides have all increased dramatically in the last few years. Wellspring remains one of the best-kept secrets of ministry that our church provides. A group of professional counselors provide care on site for clients who would otherwise not be able to afford it.”

Coder notes that the team of six counselors at Wellspring have seen a rise in anxiety and a greater concern for safety among their clients.

“COVID heightened the general sense of anxiety that people have, in addition to the violence and death due to gun violence," she said. "This makes people feel less secure than they used to and more concerned about going into public places. So, the church is part of the response to that need. The church is called to meet people where the need is. They may start with anxiety but also uncover additional concerns they may not have paid attention to. Some folks need more help than they used to and beyond what pastors can provide. So, we’re glad to be a place pastors can refer congregants to.”

Wellspring Counseling Center looks forward to working with churches in the North Texas Conference to incorporate additional counselors in new places as contractors for Wellspring or to assist churches in developing new counseling centers. The need for mental health services has never been greater. Wellspring and First UMC Plano stand ready to help individuals and churches meet the demand.

Learn About Wellspring Counseling Center

Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2023