As a coalition of psychologists and social workers united by a common interest in helping under-served New Yorkers, TherapySafetyNet has operated entirely by virtue of the volunteer efforts of its participating clinicians.
Over 2,000 volunteer hours have been contributed to TherapySafetyNet’s operations, including referral coordination activities. Cumulatively, that is one year of volunteer labor.
Today, as TherapySafetyNet concludes its operations as a referral service, I sincerely want to thank to our volunteer referral coordinators who, week in and week out, helped connect New Yorkers with affordable mental health care. Our referral coordinators helped over 700 New Yorkers find the help they were looking for–whether a referral to one of our participating clinicians, a referral to a community mental health center, or educating those who have insurance how to access their benefits to cover psychotherapy.
Our referral coordinator team
At the time of this writing, our referral coordinator team consisted of Janis McAdams, Psy.D., Ilana Simons, Ph.D., Ellen Varady, LCSW-R, CASAC, any myself. Working on a weekly rotation, each referral coordinator worked individually with each prospective client to help connect them with affordable psychotherapy.
The work involved in running a referral service was far more than I anticipated when I founded TherapySafetyNet in 2007. This is not easy work, in the midst of running a private practice, to determine a prospective client’s eligibility and attempt to find a tailored referral that will be a good match. The work more often than not was complicated by idiosyncratic factors, making this far more than a clerical job of matching but rather a clinical intervention in its own right.
TherapySafetyNet never could have continued this long were it not for the tireless and graceful efforts of our referral coordinators. Profound thanks to each one of you.
The road ahead
In December 2013, TherapySafetyNet concluded its operations as a free referral service in order to encourage uninsured New Yorkers to purchase affordable health insurance through our state’s official health insurance exchange, nystateofhealth.ny.gov.
Though we no longer offer individualized help with referrals, our website TherapySafetyNet.org continues as a self-service information source for affordable mental healthcare in New York city. Follow us as we continue to develop a comprehensive listing of training institutes and other low cost mental healthcare services, as well as provide honorary listings of our alumni who continue to offer sliding scale and reduced fee psychotherapy and psychiatry.
We will also be documenting the history of our operations and presenting the final outcomes of our referral service at therapysafetynet.org/history.
Geoffrey Steinberg, Psy.D.
Executive Director, TherapySafetyNet