YMCA of Greater Monmouth County Provides Telehealth Mental Health Counseling Support

May 26, 2020

With the current public health crisis and need for physical distancing, the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County has shifted its business model for counseling services by offering telehealth sessions to support children, adults and teens.   

The telehealth services offered via phone or video conferencing, enable the Y to continue providing mental health support programs for public school districts, addiction recovery, and outpatient behavioral health services. 

“The demand for mental health services is on the rise as a result of the public health emergency,” said Laurie Goganzer, CEO of YMCA of Greater Monmouth County. “In times like this, our community needs us to help them heal and reunite.”

“Our response and shift to telehealth counseling has been amazing, providing services to nearly 1,900 clients a month amid the pandemic. All of our health and fitness facilities, camps, and some of our childcare facilities were forced to shut down by the Governor’s order. But our essential counseling services have continued via telehealth and at three of our counseling locations,” said Goganzer. “Our team has truly been heroes in our community while the world has shut down.”

The Y has a professionally licensed team of clinicians available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm to host appointments. An answering service is provided after hours.

Without the help of telehealth, the Y could not continue to provide mental health services in their well renowned school-based program, which includes therapeutic counseling to children. “Both parents and students have expressed their gratitude for us continuing these services, given school closings,” said LeeAnn Wagner, Vice President of Counseling and Social Services.

“Telehealth has helped bridge the gap in services to children in our care on nearly 89 campuses in Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties,” Wagner said.

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is one of a few Y’s in the country that provides comprehensive mental health services. The programs help all individuals--including the insured, uninsured, and those receiving State Medicaid.  “We don’t turn anyone down,” said Goganzer. “We help everyone from all walks of life, and there are no qualifying factors.” 

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth county expects the number of participants taking advantage of these services to increase, especially after the pandemic ends. “When people are in crisis mode, they usually have a post-traumatic response,” said Wagner. “We are ready and prepared for that response when it comes.”

In addition to telehealth, the Y is supporting other critical community needs, such as:

  • Emergency child care for essential workers and First Responders at the Freehold Family YMCA
  • Hosting blood drives for the American Red Cross that have saved the lives of nearly 400 people
  • Virtual wellness check programs for members and families
  • Curbside drop-and-go food collections to support overwhelmed community food banks

“We have always been here for our community in good times and through challenging times,” said Goganzer. “We are committed to recovering together and supporting our community as one.”