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White Bird Clinic to expand mental health services

Mental Health Center
White Bird Clinic
A mock-up for a reception area at White Bird Clinic's new Mental Health Center location. Executive Coordinator Chris Hecht said the project aims to create a welcoming space for patients.

White Bird Clinic in Eugene will expand its counseling services using new federal funding.

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley secured $275,000 for the local non-profit in a federal spending bill, which President Biden is expected to sign this week.

White Bird will spend the money on a new space for its Mental Health Center, which provides therapy to Medicaid recipients and the homeless. Currently, the service is primarily remote.

Chris Hecht is White Bird’s Executive Coordinator. He said many counseling services don’t accept Medicaid, so those that do have long waitlists.

“The pandemic has really hammered everyone in a way that's exacerbated existing issues or helped create new ones. So demand is way up.”

Hecht said this new space will accommodate more therapists, doubling the clinic’s capacity and reducing wait times. He expects it to open next fall.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter and former reporting intern. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon. He is a senior at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.