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Community outreach



Mental health remains a highly stigmatized topic in today’s society, despite the efforts of many people to sway public opinion. In addition, many past insurance policies put physical illnesses above mental, making it difficult for people to receive the care they needed. But for the past 40 years, one community clinic has been working to ensure that those who need help receive it, regardless of whether they’re able to pay or not.

Cal Poly’s Community Counseling Clinic is run by the Psychology and Child Development Department. The clinic is part of the Master of Science Psychology program and is staffed by graduate students, with supervision from clinically licensed psychologists.

The program offers counseling for children, teens, families, and couples, as well as individuals for short-term counseling and consultations. Despite the array of services offered to the community, the program remains a well-kept secret.

GOOD COUNSEL:  The Cal Poly Master of Science Psychology program provides low-cost counseling for the community. - PHOTO BY ADRIANA CATANZARITE
  • GOOD COUNSEL: The Cal Poly Master of Science Psychology program provides low-cost counseling for the community.

“We’ve been trying to do some community outreach,” said Lindsey Cunha, one of the graduate assistants in the clinic. “But as of now, we don’t have a budget for advertising, so we’re not getting as much traffic as we should. Which is a shame, because there are people who are on waitlists for counseling around the county, and they don’t know that they can just come in to our clinic to get the help they need.”

According to Dr. Kelly Moreno, the director of the clinic, the program could be a huge resource to people in the community if they could get the word out.

“This clinic has been around for more than 40 years, but it’s still being underutilized in the community,” Moreno said. “There is a tremendous need for mental health services in San Luis Obispo. And as of now, we are one of only two agencies that offer low-cost services to underserved people.”

The clinic uses a sliding scale to determine the amount the client will pay for services. The scale is based on income, and ranges anywhere from $5 to $15.

“We won’t turn someone away just because they’re unable to pay for their sessions,” Moreno said. “We’ll still find a way to work with them.”

As of now, the clinic has nine graduate students on the staff, and is serving around 20 or 30 clients. But according to Moreno, the students could easily handle twice that number.

“This program is highly selective,” Moreno said. “The competition is very high. The students already have a fair amount of clinical experience before they start with us. If they weren’t skilled at what they do, they wouldn’t be here.”

The community counseling clinic is on the Cal Poly campus in the Cotchett Education Building, room 125. For more information about the program, call 756-1532.

Fast fact

Looking to learn a new skill or find a new hobby? Look no further. The San Luis Obispo Transitions Town Hub will hold a ReSkilling Expo to include a daylong series of workshops on beekeeping, composting, food preservation, quilting, rainwater harvesting, and other practical skills.

The expo will be held on Nov. 9 at the Vets Hall, 801 Grand Ave. in San Luis Obispo. Tickets cost $5 per person, or $10 for families. Registration begins at 9:15 a.m., and the sessions will begin at 10 a.m. For more information, visit, or call 801-8168.


Intern Adriana Catanzarite compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your nonprofit and business news to

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