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This free clinic would have new slant

Nancy Holden, 79, is a retired United Methodist Church minister who pastored at churches in Fargo and across North Dakota for more than 20 years. She’s lived in River Falls on Morgan Road with her husband Doug for 11 years.

A local service group is spotlighting a neglected area of wellness by trying to form a free clinic for those with mental illnesses who can’t afford treatment.

Coalition for a Compassionate Community, which formed in November 2011 and has hosted publicity campaigns on school bullying and domestic violence, now takes aim at problems of mental health care.

CCC chairwoman Nancy Holden said the group’s ultimate goal is to find building space by spring 2015 to open a free mental health clinic.

The plan is to follow the successful blueprint used by the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties.

The latter formed in 2007, operates Tuesday evenings in a wing of the River Falls Medical Clinic, and is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization serving the poor and the uninsured who suffer from various physical ailments.

Anyone who wants to learn more about CCC’s project is invited to attend a meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Society, N8010 Hwy. 65, town of River Falls, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5.

“This is the first time for making the plan open to the public,” said Holden, a Unitarian community minister affiliated with the local UU Society. “It’s an opportunity for people interested in this topic to listen to the presentation and ask questions.

“It’s a very big undertaking. Our group has virtually no money, and we’ll need to write grants and eventually find a permanent location for the clinic.”

The Jan. 5 meeting will blend with the Unitarian fellowship service for that Sunday morning. There’ll be a sign-up sheet for those wishing to volunteer for the mental healthcare project.

For the complete story, please see the Dec. 19 print edition of the River Falls Journal.