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Community Spotlight:  SamaraCare

HISTORY:

SamaraCare was originally founded in 1971 as an independent, interfaith, non-profit mental health counseling organization by three Naperville congregations to address the unmet mental health needs of the community. Since then, it has expanded to serving the mental health care needs of clients residing in Chicago’s western suburbs, spanning western Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will and Kendall counties. Counseling centers are located in Naperville, Downers Grove and Geneva. On July 1 2019, SamaraCare joined forces with Winnetka-based Samaritan Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization with similar core values, to become a regional provider of high-quality mental health services. Samaritan Counseling Center dissolved its corporate charter and folded into SamaraCare’s organizational structure. North region offices are located in Chicago, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Lake Forest and Libertyville.

WHAT WE DO:

SamaraCare provides high quality, professional mental health counseling and psychological testing and assessment for individuals, couples and families from diverse backgrounds and varied financial means and offers the option of spiritually integrated counseling for those clients seeking this approach. It does not promote or proselytize religion. Our overarching counseling strategy is a plan-oriented team approach that integrates high-quality psychotherapy with pastoral care. This post-modern term refers to a model of emotional, social and spiritual support that can be found in all cultures and traditions. The term is considered inclusive of distinctly non-religious forms of support, as well as support for people from religious communities.

We also provide customized mental health educational and wellness presentations to schools, service clubs, and faith/community groups. The presentations are preventative in nature and are designed to end the stigma associated with mental illness.

WHO WE SERVE

SamaraCare serves diverse populations across the lifespan, from the ages of 2-92,  including children, adolescents, adults, seniors, couples, families, bi-lingual households, clergy, teachers, first responders, LGBTQ, trauma/sexual assault survivors, and veterans. The majority of our clients are full fee paying clients utilizing insurance for coverage of mental health care services. However, we also provide fee discounts to qualifying clients who are uninsured or underinsured through our Mental Health Access Program. Approximately 30-40% of the clients we serve require financial assistance at any given time.

HOW WE ARE UNIQUE

For nearly 50 years, SamaraCare has remained dedicated to providing quality, affordable counseling services and greater accessibility. In tandem with its mission, SamaraCare pioneered the Mental Health Access Program (MHAP) enabling it to provide fee-subsidized mental health care to families and individuals facing financial challenges. The program utilizes a sliding fee scale, based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines, to discount standard fees for psychotherapy and psychological testing services. Extenuating hardship circumstances are also considered in setting fees. In FY 19, the combined organization expended nearly $611,000 in fee subsidy assistance to 511 households.

In addition to our emphasis on meeting client financial needs through our MHAP, SamaraCare is uniquely qualified to provide Spiritually Integrated Therapy for those interested in that option. We welcome but never require spiritual conversations as part of the therapeutic process. Our counselors are well versed in Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, as well as other faith/life philosophy practices.

Research demonstrates that spirituality can be an invaluable factor in the process of instilling and facilitating positive coping, psychological well-being and resilience for those accepting some faith tradition. 80% of our clients introduce spirituality at some point during treatment.

For  more information about SamaraCare please visit the website at www.samaracarecounseling.org.

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A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.