a note from The 20-21 Board Chair

Steve Hackney

steve hackney

July 2021

Dear Supporters and Friends,

The Refuge Center for Counseling continues to honor its mission to provide affordable professional counseling services in order to empower, educate, and support individuals, families, and couples in need.

In 2020, The Refuge Center, along with the world, faced an unprecedented health crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. Refuge was able to pivot and leverage Telehealth technology to keep counseling services available to folks in their own homes, as well as some in-person sessions. Refuge center has seen volumes continue to increase. In 2019, approximately 3,000 families and just over 27, 079 counseling sessions were provided. As of May 2021, The Refuge Center will have served over 4,000 families and provided over 30,000 counseling sessions. This is the largest amount of clients served in Refuge history.  In September of 2020, we provided over 500 MORE sessions than the September previous.

In addition, we have seen the waiting list hit the 200+ mark for the first time. The Refuge Center provided services to clients in over 17 counties across the Middle Tennessee area. In response to the increased demand, we were able to add a Group Counseling resource to begin a series of therapy groups that allowed triage of folks from the waiting list to begin their therapy experience in a group setting.  Also, we were blessed to acquire additional office space (rent free) for the Development and Administrative staffs. This blessing freed up space in the existing office location to add 120 more sessions per week. Anxiety, depression, trauma and relationship issues represent the top four presenting issues that bring people to The Refuge Center for counseling. Along with referrals demand, The Refuge Center has also seen an 18% growth in staff over the previous year to meet the needs of our community.

Mental health and emotional wellness have emerged as one of the central issues faced by our country and local communities. In fact, Williamson County has the second highest suicide rate in Tennessee. The Refuge Center has had the opportunity to provide thought leadership and actively participate in the Mayor’s new initiative Find Hope Franklin. Find Hope Franklin is a community-based resource with a mission to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and create an environment where anyone can feel empowered to ask for help. In addition to Find Hope Franklin and reducing suicide rates in our community, The Refuge Center is also a Zero Suicide organization with a Zero Suicide Prevention Taskforce in place. The Refuge Center is dedicated to improving client safety,  and as a Zero Suicide Program, presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care.

The Refuge Center continues to enjoy strong support and advocacy from its Board of Directors. In fact, this year the Board formed new focus areas to help move the needle on some strategic priorities around fund raising/development depth/expansion as well as awareness and marketing.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you, the community for the ongoing support and steadfast commitment to making this life-changing work possible. We are excited about what the future holds for Refuge Center!


Steve Hackney

Director of the BA Center of Excellence, HCA IT&S Department