Burke Center staff (above, from left) Jessica Burke, Kim Rosencrans, Joanne Price, Lori Bennett, Dylan Sebring, and Lisa Tinna accept a check in the amount of $15,000 from AllOne Foundation & Charities CEO John Cosgrove to help fund the facility’s “Access Approved” program.
The Burke Center in Tunkhannock received a visit recently from representatives of AllOne Charities who presented the facility with a $15,000 grant. The funds will be used to help uninsured and underinsured individuals access in-person and virtual outpatient mental health services, including counseling. The Burke Center, located at 70 Hollow Crest Rd., successfully applied for the grant during the Spring 2023 application period and has already helped numerous children, adolescents, adults, and senior citizens. AllOne Charities and the Wyoming County Community Foundation approved funding the Burke Center’s new “Access Approved” program.
“The pandemic opened our eyes to a national mental health crisis that has directly or indirectly affected the majority of Americans,” said Burke Center founder and executive director Jessica Burke. “And things are no different here in rural Pennsylvania, where distance and limited access to most health services can increase feelings of isolation.”
There are abundant stress factors that are endemic to the region, which has been slow to rebound from the hardships of the pandemic. Solid, lucrative employment often requires an hour drive or more, while those unable to travel long distances for a variety of reasons are stuck with lower-paying jobs and little if any health insurance.
“We are left to deal with a population that is increasingly anxious, fearful, sad and stressed,” Burke remarked. “We do our best to keep our costs low for our clients, but many are telling us that they are visiting us less often because they can’t afford to be here when so many other expenses, including food, utilities, and basic necessities are eating up more of their limited budgets.”
The Burke Center was established in 2016 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and offers mental health evaluations; individual, couples, and family therapy; psychiatric evaluations; medication management; and blended case management for residents of Wyoming, Bradford, Sullivan, and Susquehanna counties.
The professionals at the Burke Center realize that Mental Health, Emotional Wellness, and Physical Well-being walk hand-in-hand. But Mental Health is often the first to be pushed to the back burner, whether it be for financial reasons or the belief that it can fix itself, which is a false narrative.
“We need to break the stigma that mental health services are only for people with severe mental health disorders. We all need help sometimes, and we’re here to listen and offer new perspectives and coping skills in an ever-changing world,” said Burke. “We feel strongly that our reaction to the mental health crisis can return to a proactive and preventative approach with the implementation of the ‘Access Approved’ funding source.”
The grant from AllOne Charities and the Wyoming County Community Foundation will provide an adequate starting point for a hardship fund that has been utilized on an as-needed, first-come, first-served basis. But the Burke Center is calling on businesses, other agencies, and private donors to consider contributing to the program as a way of strengthening the community as a whole.
Those interested in supporting the endeavor and those in need of mental health and psychiatric services are encouraged to log on to burkecenter.org, follow The Burke Center on Facebook, or call 570-240-4774 for more information.