“Once upon a time…” That’s how all good stories start. And The Northwest Catholic Counseling Center (NCC) has grown into a very good story with many chapters.

The first chapter was written in 1986 when a recession hit the country, resulting in lay offs with limited resources and opportunities. As always, a financially shaky climate significantly impacted the most vulnerable in our community. Opportunities for mental health services were no exception.

Several parishes in northeast Portland, along with the community of the Servants of Mary, met to see how this mental health vacuum could be filled.

The solution that was reached was unrealistic and impractical – provide professional, affordable mental health services to all people regardless of faith or finances. In addition, these services would be highly professional and rooted in compassion.

The good people in Portland believed in what we were doing and recognized, along with the Northwest Catholic Counseling Center, that mental health services were a right and not a privilege.

NCC’s reputation grew along with the support of the community. Chapter after chapter followed.  The Center added additional staff, created a premarital program, partnered with area Catholic schools and again, continued to add staff.

The Center became a state certified agency, was recognized by all major insurance companies and became an intern-training program for several area colleges.

Another significant chapter in our growth was the addition of an onsite Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner able to provide psychiatric medication evaluations as well as prescribe these medications.

After more than three decades, the unrealistic and impractical goal continues to be a growing, vital reality with additional plans and dreams for the future.