PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It can be tough to access mental health care, but there are new ways to try to bridge the gap for people.
“The need for mental health services, it’s just unbelievably high,” Dr. Cathy Sigmund said.
Sigmund, who works at North Side Community Health Center, told KDKA about 50 percent of the people who walk through their doors need mental health services.
“A high percentage of our community members has been exposed to gun violence, even been shot, have had family members who’ve even died or injured by gun violence. So I think that’s one of the major problems,” Sigmund said.
High costs of care and no availability with current practicing therapists makes it even harder.
Now the North Side Community Health Center is offering mental health services with primary care.
“We are here to serve you regardless of your ability to pay. If you walk through our doors, you will be served,” Sigmund said.
The facility is multiple levels, so when you walk inside, you could be going to see anyone, including your primary care physician or the dentist.
“Here is so much better, every door is closed. And wherever you go, no one knows what you need help with,” said Siraji Hassan, who represents some of the Somali Bantu refugees in Pittsburgh.
This new fusion of care will allow more people to seek help.
“In our Somali Bantu culture, it’s a stigma. We look upon each other and frown upon each other. It’s like are you crazy. If you ask for help, it’s frowned upon,” Hassan said.
Through these federal grants, more mental health services are being offered through primary care to help fill a growing need.
The center will have at least three therapists on the North Side starting out.
They also have a smaller office that will offer mental health services at Northview Heights.