A Hays mental health provider is offering a walk-in mental health clinic to help meet the needs of the community.

Turning Point Professional Counseling Service, 1301 Oak, a private-practice started by William Davis in 1998, will offer the clinic from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday evenings for ages 14 and up. The cost is $25. Insurance is not billed for the session.

The staff had been discussing how they could provide a service that meets the community’s needs that would be different from other agencies, said Michelle Fairbank, one of Turning Point's counselors.

Dr. Reade Dowda, a Fort Hays State University assistant professor of counseling who is associated with Turning Point, suggested the walk-in clinic, Fairbank said.

“It made sense,” Davis said. “It’s a service that helps open up a little more comfort zone going into mental health issues. It at least allows the community the opportunity to address some stress and depression and anxiety.”

“We thought Monday would be good after a particular hard weekend, or if somebody has a big decision to make that they just want a neutral party to come talk to,” Fairbank said.

Issues could be a decision about taking a new job, family conflict around the holidays, or other stressors.

The counselors hope the walk-in clinic will help ease the concerns about seeking mental health.

“Sometimes it’s the stigma, and they’re just a little worried about coming in and telling a stranger their problems. Hopefully, they’ll have a good experience and some of them might want to become regular patients,” Fairbank said.

To protect walk-in clients’ confidentiality, the practice has plenty of office spaces where they can wait for an available counselor in private.

People can come to the walk-in clinic multiple times, but won’t be guaranteed the same counselor each visit. Turning Point does offer a sliding scale fee for those who might want regular counseling sessions but don’t have insurance that covers the service.

The walk-in clinic visits will be 30 minutes, but could last longer depending on an individual’s need, Fairbank said.

“It can be an hour if it’s a heavy subject and they need an hour,” Fairbank said.

Turning Point will have two to five licensed counselors available for each clinic, and supervised FHSU students on internships and clinical work might participate as well.

“We’re going to see how busy we get, but we might do a Saturday morning as well eventually down the road,” Fairbank said.

The counselors are looking at other ways to expand mental health offerings that fit with Turning Point’s holistic approach. A massage therapist practices in their Hays location, and they would like to add a yoga instructor to the Hays office. A therapist at their outreach office in Bird City recently began offering restorative yoga.

In the spring, Turning Point will offer an anger management group for adults. While it will serve those ordered by the courts to anger management, it will be available to the general public as well. It will be one night a week for 12 weeks.