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FSA Service Spotlight: Counseling

Since 1895, Family Service Association of NEPA has helped local children, individuals, families and communities achieve their full potential. In honor of their 125th anniversary, this nonprofit organization will share the stories behind their services. Join us every month to learn more about their diverse programs and how you can support their vision of building resilient families and thriving communities—one person at a time.

Caring & Confidential Support Through Life’s Challenges

For over thirty years, Family Service Association of NEPA (FSA) has offered professional counseling services for individuals, families, couples and children in Luzerne County. Counseling provides tools to cope with stress, health issues, unemployment, elder care and so much more. It can even help with substance/chemical dependence, parent-child relationships and anger management. FSA also provides young adult counseling, including issues with school, low self-esteem and substance abuse.

Ultimately, all of these services come down Cathy Mericle, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years of experience. Cathy has experience in fields covering the spectrum of mental illness and social struggles. She participates regularly in local speaking engagements as an expert and educator.

Cathy has many “success stories” to share from her years of service. Recently, she started working with an eight-year-old girl named Mary*, who lost her great-grandmother due to natural causes, and shortly after, her grandmother to COVID-19. Mary was close with both of them. Soon afterwards, she started to show violent anger toward her younger sister. Her grades sharply declined at school, and she wasn’t eating or sleeping well.

Mary’s parents turned to FSA for help. During the telehealth sessions, Mary was hesitant and shy at first, but she learned to discuss her anger, hurt and grief. Counseling has helped her to express her feelings appropriately and improved her physical and emotional health. She now has a better relationship with her sister, her grades are all A’s and her sleeping and eating has improved. Cathy continues to work with Mary to make sure these changes are lasting.

The counseling program has adapted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Cathy has started offering telehealth sessions. Many clients have expressed distress about the pandemic and the way it impacts their lives. If you’re feeling isolated, angry or depressed from COVID, you are not alone.

While FSA’s counseling services do charge insurances, approximately 70% of individuals served are uninsured or under-insured.  This means that FSA continually seeks grants and donations so that everyone can get the mental health service they need.

Please consider making a gift to FSA. Any donation, no matter how big or small, will go immediately to work in our community.

If you are ever in need of assistance, please reach out to FSA at (570) 823-5144. You can also call PA 211 / Northeast Help Line by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211 or visiting the Help Line website.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

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