a note from The 21-22 Board Chair


Bill Parsons

December 2022

Dear Supporters and Friends,

The Refuge Center for Counseling this year updated its mission statement to “offer excellent, accessible and affordable mental and emotional healthcare services in support of a transformational impact on communities”.  This update to our mission statement reflects our desire and determination to continue to meet the evolving mental health needs of our community.

In 2021, The Refuge Center continued to face challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic were able to continue offering Telehealth technology to keep counseling services available to folks in their own homes, as well as some in-person sessions until we opened back up completely. The Refuge Center has seen volumes continue to increase. In fiscal year 2021-2022, The Refuge Center will have served over 4,379 Clients and provided over 37,370 counseling sessions.

Our waiting continues to be a challenge. The Refuge Center provided services to clients in over 18 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 allow us to triage clients from the waiting list to begin their therapy experience in a group setting. In addition, our plans to build a new facility are progressing.  We will hopefully break ground in 2023.  Once our new facility is operational, we expect our capacity to increase and help with the current wait list challenges.

Mental health and emotional wellness continue to be one of the central issues faced by our country and local communities. According to a report in Community Impact, “as of May 2022 Williamson County’s ratio of mental health counseling providers to residents is currently 490 to 1.”  A more appropriate ratio was suggested to be 250 to 1.  Thus, it is obvious there continues to be great need for our services. The Refuge Center continues to provide thought leadership and actively participate in the Mayor’s Find Hope Franklin initiative. 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.

As chair of the Board, I am most proud of the progress we made this year in recruiting new board members with a diverse background of sex, race, experiences and ideas.  I believe the board is positioned well to continue to provide expert guidance to the Refuge Center leadership team.  The board members this year have demonstrated a willingness to engage in the mission and engage with one another to ensure that the best ideas are put forth, evaluated and implemented as appropriate.

On behalf of the Board, 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!


Bill Parsons, PhD

Retired Behavioral Health Administrator