Local organization works to raise awareness for mental health - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local organization works to raise awareness for mental health

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KENNEWICK, WA - Mental health is something that affects all of us. One local organization is working on a program to help people identify potential issues sooner rather than later.

Reporter Crystal Garcia learned that Grace Clinic is bringing a program called B4Stage4 to the Tri-Cities. The program is all about prevention, thinking about mental health like any other serious illness, and that we don't want to wait until Stage 4 to start treating it.

Grace Clinic is a place where anyone can come and get healthcare no matter what their situation may be.

"We see about 400 patients a month," said Avonte Jackson, Clinic Director at Grace Clinic, "and we basically provide free medical, dental, mental health services to people who don't have insurance and don't have a whole lot of money, because healthcare is expensive."

When it comes to mental health, they want to keep raising awareness, reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, to help before a crisis occurs.

That's why they're launching a new program. 

"The idea behind it is we want to identify these issues before the crisis occurs, you don't want to deal with cancer when it's already at Stage 4, the idea is to identify early to have more treatment options," said Jackson.

People should be on the lookout for these warning signs. "Too little sleep, too much sleep, should be a red flag," said Cindie Preszler, Counseling Director at Grace Clinic. "Irritability, I cannot manage my anger, if I'm having racing thoughts, I can't control them, isolation, should be concerning for a family member or yourself."

The clinic is currently working on increasing their resources, making more room for counselors to work to help bring this program to life...but it's something they say couldn't be done without the generosity of the community.

"It's the people who volunteer their time, Women Helping Women Tri-Cities funded this, we couldn't do this without them."

"It's a team effort, because of organizations like Women Helping Women that they are able to make a difference in people's lives."

"Years ago, we had a patient say 'I started taking care of myself because you cared'...to see the change is amazing."

They want to continue to help people get healthy, so right now they are continuing their work raising awareness reducing the stigma of mental health problems to help more people feel comfortable getting help. 

You can keep up with Grace Clinic's progress on the program by liking their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GraceClinicWA/?fref=ts.

You can also take a free anonymous screening online at Mental Health America's website by clicking here: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools.