Jennifer Welch’s Story
How did you first become involved with NFCC?
I first heard about NFCC when I was the Director of Wellness at St. John’s school. NFCC’s Community Relations Specialist at the time came to St. John’s to introduce the counseling center. After I toured the center and learned a little more about it, I started telling our counselors to refer people there as appropriate. NFCC was the first place I referred people where I only received positive feedback about their experiences. Many other places had long waiting lists or didn’t return phone calls, that was not the case at NFCC. When I left St. John’s, a member of NFCC’s advisory board reached out and invited me to participate and I have been a part of the organization ever since.
I am blown away by the work NFCC does and I am honored to be a part of it. I choose to serve on the board and support NFCC because of the amazing mental health services they offer and how hard they work to make counseling more affordable and more accessible. There are so few places that do that and as a clinician, that’s what appeals to me most. NFCC is truly doing groundbreaking work through their affordable payment options, options for in-person or zoom counseling, the varied experiences and expertise of the clinicians, and the top-notch training they offer.
Everyone’s mental health was clearly impacted over the past year as we dealt with Coronavirus and social distancing. As we start to return to normalcy, can you give a little insight into why counseling and accessible mental health resources remain so critical to our community?
First off, I believe that mental health counseling can be effective and important for everyone at all times. You do not have to just seek out counseling in times of crisis, such as during a pandemic. Seeking it out on a regular basis is so important for building relationships and becoming your best self. Counseling is like working out. People work out all the time to stay in shape physically and counseling is the same thing for you mentally. It’s easy to take your mental health for granted when you are not in crisis. Maybe a positive from COVID is that we all look at mental health a little differently. Things we took as a given can be addressed now instead of later. Just like our physical health, we never know when something might happen to our mental health, so let’s do something preventative about it.
Secondly, everyone was traumatized by COVID in different ways. When you are healing from a trauma and you are returning to a new normal, there will be bumps in the road. The first time I was in public without a mask it freaked me out! It felt weird to be around people. Integration will be bumpy. We will be excited, scared, we are going to feel all the feelings. Having a counselor help us through that just makes sense.
You have been a member of our advisory board since 2017. What do you hope to see NFCC accomplish in the next five years?
Of all the organizations I have worked with professionally and personally, NFCC is the most mission-driven place I have encountered. Working with NFCC has been a pleasure because the staff and counselors are really focused on their mission. NFCC feels like a family to me; everyone there genuinely cares about each other and the work they do. This is why I hope the counseling center continues to grow. Though it may seem strange that I want NFCC to experience even more growth, it is truly because I want more people to be positively impacted by the fabulous services that NFCC has to offer. I want more people to be touched by something they see on the counseling center’s social media or a training they attend! Even though it shouldn’t be, it is unique to find, and that is why I am so excited to be a part of the organization.