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Spotlight: CSSW Behavioral Health Services


October is Depression and Mental Health Screening Month! We recently had the opportunity to speak with Liz Borener, Clinical Services Director in Behavioral Health Services at Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County. CSSW ‘s primary goal is to help people. CSSW’s therapists and staff want to transform lives by offering hope and opportunity for mental health wellness. They do this by offering a wide range of services to fully reflect the mental health needs of our community. The Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic treats and addresses mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, panic, PTSD, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and more. treatment they desire. The Behavioral Health Clinic is staffed by some wonderful and resourceful providers including a psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, therapists, and psychologists.  

Ahead of the Curve: If you had to give an “elevator speech” about what your organization does, how would you describe it? 

Liz Borener: Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County is a private, non-profit 501c3 organization.  

Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County will work to encourage a greater understanding, acceptance, and respect among people in our community by 

  • advocating for the poor, the powerless, and the oppressed 
  • preventing deterioration of individual and family life 
  • enhancing and improving the quality of life for individuals and families 

AOTC: Walk me through the step-by-step process. What happens when you get  a phone call/referral?  

LB: When a person calls in for a referral to counseling the Intake Coordinator will ask a few questions to make sure they are hearing the need of the client and what they are requesting. When it has been established that the client wants therapy or psychiatry they are emailed or sent an intake packet. Once the intake packet is filled out, the client goes on a waiting list until they can be assigned to a therapist. The therapist will call or email the client, introduce themselves, and set up an appointment at that time. Our goal is to assign a person to a therapist as quickly as possible.  

AOTC: What organizations do you work closely with? 

LB: We work with so many agencies, including Community Mental Health, Washtenaw Health Plan, the local hospitals, the Department of Human Services, HAWC, United Way of Washtenaw, Catholic Charities, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Hope Clinic and many more.  

AOTC: What are some things you wish the public knew about your role?  

LB: That we are here to provide mental health services for the most vulnerable of our population in Washtenaw County. That access to mental health services is now more important than ever. Here at CSSS we have skilled providers to deliver these mental health services. We want to serve our community.  

AOTC: What tips do you have for someone with a loved one that is going through this issue/needs assistance? 

LB: Never be ashamed to ask for help! Everyone needs help in their lifetime. Your life has value, and it is important that you know that.  

AOTC: Is there anything you would like to add? 

LB: I love my job! I am so blessed to be in the position where I can help others in their time of need.  

Thank you to Liz Borener for sharing information about this important community resource! If you want to learn more about CSSW’s Behavioral Health Department or meet their therapists, you can visit their website.  

Visit the Ahead of the Curve Online Senior Resource Directory to learn more about mental health resources in your area.  

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