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[NASHVILLE, Tenn. February 1] The APA (American Psychiatric Association) Foundation recently provided Franklin, TN non-profit The Refuge Center for Counseling with a $7500 grant to provide free counseling to victims of December 2023 Nashville tornadoes which killed 24 people and caused widespread damage across Middle Tennessee. The APA’s charitable arm, APAF, seeks to promote the mental health and well-being of individuals and communities. The grant was given at the APA’s recent event, “Where We Play” held on January 28 at The Fisher Center at Belmont University in Nashville. The event focused on the intersection of mental health, athletics, artistry, and creativity; featuring appearances from World Champion Swimmer Michael Phelps, World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, World Champion Swimmer Allison Schmitt, among others. The event also featured local and national Mental Health advocates and professionals such as Dr. Michelle Cochran of the Tennessee Psychiatric Association, Chad Karger from Porter’s Call, and Pike Williams from The Refuge Center for Counseling.

With this grant from the APA Foundation, The Refuge Center will be able to offer over 100 free counseling sessions to anyone in Middle Tennessee who was impacted by the recent tornadoes. The Refuge Center, which serves 17 different counties throughout Tennessee and more than 4,000 children, teens, adults, and families each year, operates on a sliding fee-scale so no one is excluded on the basis of income. Over 89% of sessions at Refuge utilize this fee-scale and since opening in 2005 they have held over 300,000 counseling sessions.

CEO and Co-Founder of The Refuge Center, Amy Alexander, LMFT says: “We are honored and thrilled to receive this gift from the APAF in support of our community as we walk with them through the emotional aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that impacted much of Middle Tennessee. We believe that The Refuge Center has become a place where people are able to find hope and healing from the storms of their daily lives. This collaboration will help people recover from the actualstorms that life can bring our way.”

“We are honored to support the critical assistance that The Refuge Center provides to its clients as they recover from this natural disaster, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As partners with The Refuge Center in supporting individuals in great need, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for all they are doing to help alleviate the stress and trauma that their community has endured,” said Rawle Andrews Jr., Executive Director of the APA Foundation.

When speaking about the collaboration between the two organizations, Former Refuge Board Member, Current APAF Board Member, and World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist says, “Bringing APAF and Refuge together for this ‘Where We Play’ event in Nashville was such an amazing joy for me personally, especially when you consider all that both are doing for mental health both locally and nationally.”

About the APA Foundation­­­
The APA Foundation creates mental he­­­alth literacy, connects underserved communities to the mental health care they need, and changes behaviors and attitudes toward mental health. Through the programs and grant opportunities, they are working towards a mentally healthy nation for all where “you live, learn, work, worship and play.” You can find out more at

About The Refuge Center for Counseling
The Refuge Center exists to offer excellent, accessible, and affordable
mental and emotional healthcare services in support of a transformational impact on communities.
For more on our list of services, sliding fee-scale, upcoming events, and impact, go to