ACT for Mental Health has been serving the needs of down town San Jose for over fifty years. It was started as a grass roots organization, in response to the closing of Agnews State Hospital, and continues to help the chronically mentally ill through its Drop in Center, activities, and nutrition program.
Today, ACT serves the surrounding community with Counseling Services, Parent and Child Reunification programs, and Support Groups for Spanish speaking parents. Although ACT is operated on a shoe string, it has an outreach program to the local Community School (alternative high school for troubled teens).
Services are provided on a sliding scale, but ACT takes pride in turning no one away because of their inability to pay. The recent financial crisis has caused additional stress in the community ACT serves, resulting in a large upsurge of requests for counseling for anxiety and depression.
Given ACT’s limited resources, it would have been expected that they would limit the number of new patients. Instead, ACT launched a grass roots outreach, placing small, hand lettered notices in coin operated laundries, schools and libraries to reach people that needed their help.
I’ve never met a harder working, or more dedicated group of people. And, the most amazing thing about ACT is it is a joyous environment. These people truly enjoy their work.
This is one of those nonprofits which I am amazed is not more recognized. It has been around for over fifty years so is probably one of San Jose's oldest. Yet, I had never heard of it until a friend told me. This is a wonderful group of staff and volunteers who provide mental health services and referrals to those with very little or no income. They do this on a shoestring budget. Please see their web site http://www.actmentalhealth.org/ for more information.
ACT for Mental Health is setup in an old building in downtown San Jose. While the building could use a remodeling job, this is a very insignificant detail in comparison to the impact of ACT for Mental Health. Not only do they provide low-cost counseling for low-income individuals and families that need mental health services, but they provide opportunities for everyone involved to make a direct impact on their community. As a volunteer, I learned about ACT's great mission and was given the freedom to spread the word about our mission in my own creative ways.