The Minnesota Adult and Youth Challenge is launching a new counseling arm next week to help the growing number of Minnesotans struggling with mental health issues.
The Twin Cities nonprofit, which has provided substance abuse services for 40 years, will open its RockBridge Counseling and Mental Health Services Center on Jan. 24, offering outpatient services for children and adults ages 12 and older in Crystal, Maplewood and Lakeville.
“It’s a very unique format, and I don’t know if there are others like it,” CEO Tom Truczynski said of the Minnesota Adult and Youth Challenge, a series of competitions that will be offered to approximately 4,000 Minnesotans this year. Faith-Based Service Says. “It’s really an untapped market that I think the community desperately needs.”
The nonprofit has long provided mental health services to people struggling with substance abuse, so offering general help with mental health was a natural next step, Truszinski said. People seeking counseling appointments can wait three to six months or more, so improving access to mental health help would be beneficial and even prevent future substance abuse, he added.
This year, RockBridge’s four employees will provide telemedicine and on-site consultations to approximately 300 people. Dr. Anna Ramos, director of clinical services, hopes to double the number of staff by the end of the year, but she said it is difficult to find people as the nonprofit faces unprecedented workforce shortages and growing burnout.
“Continuing to meet the needs is challenging,” she said of growing mental health concerns. “I think a lot of people just need extra support as they go through different stages of life.”
The Minnesota Adult and Youth Challenge, which has 14 residential locations across the state, will open an inpatient treatment facility for men in Alexandria and a center for women in Brainerd later this year. The new facility will help fill a gap in rural Minnesota’s substance abuse resources, Truszinski said.