a note from the executive director


amy alexander, lmft

Dear friends –

Not one of us ever could have imagined the amount of loss, uncertainty, powerlessness and isolation we would experience this last year. We’ve been through an emotional tornado, an emotional bomb, an emotional pandemic. With the added stress of this year, there has been an acceleration in the mental health crisis in our community. What this meant for The Refuge Center was a 22% increase in request for services –upwards of 70 referrals each week. We hear from teens who are battling with eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. We hear from grieving families who lost loved ones. We hear from couples whose marriages are in trouble. We are hearing from individuals privately battling with addictions that became “coping-mechanisms.”  People are sharing that their anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. For some, they say this year has reminded them of times in their past that they felt alone or helpless and it has triggered old wounds.

Unaddressed, these issues result in divorce, panic attacks, toxic reactivity, depression, and even suicide.

We believe that no one should struggle or suffer alone. The work of The Refuge Center is more critical than it has ever been. When someone sits and listens to our pain, it begins to give our pain and story dignity, and as that happens our pain transforms and our stories have purpose. Not only do we heal, but we began to use our voice to help others heal. This renewed self-efficacy has a systemic impact on the community and we believe that the community as a whole is positively and profoundly impacted by each person who finds emotional freedom.  

With service need increasing, the mental health stigma decreasing and the growth in our community, the demand for affordable, accessible mental health care is unprecedented.  As you will see throughout this report, The Refuge Center is leading the way in the mental health movement in this community!

I have had the honor to work, on behalf of The Refuge Center, with Mayor Moore of Franklin and his Find Hope Franklin task force to eliminate suicide in our community; and The Refuge Center is also a part of the Zero Suicide initiative. 

THANK YOU for partnering with The Refuge Center to continue to provide “a refuge and a hiding place” for all those who come through the doors. It is YOU, our partners, who allow The Refuge Center to provide, as Isaiah 4:6 reads, “A shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a hiding place from the storm and the rain.” You make this life-changing work possible!

With gratitude,

Amy Alexander, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor

The Refuge Center for Counseling, Executive Director and Co-Founder