Family Counseling Center celebrates 100 years in Utah

October 26, 2012
Author: Carole Mikita | KSL

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Family Counseling Center is celebrating its 100th anniversary of service to people throughout the Salt Lake Community. Despite its longevity, there are still many who do not know of the help offered there.

For decades, many in Utah's society have needed mental health care. The Family Counseling Center staff says this organization exists to help those who don't believe they can find it.

In 1912, when social services were not available, some recognized a need, and The Family Counseling Center came into being. The organization helped children suffering from malnutrition, assisted men who needed work during the Depression, and offered counseling to returning soldiers and their families after World War II.

"This group of leaders from diverse backgrounds saw a need and came together, and with their generosity and their donations, created something that has continued to give in Utah for a century," said Family Counseling Center Executive Director Kate Della-Piana.

Currently, the Family Counseling Center offers help for low-income, uninsured children, teens and adults throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Of the 400,000 citizens of Utah who had no health insurance last year, the counseling center treated 1,200.

Mike Archer is giving back to the center as a board member, after getting help for his daughter. Fifteen years ago, his daughter was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

"Today, she's a mother with three beautiful daughters, she teaches pre-school and she still sees her therapist," Archer said.

Holly DeSantis found a message of hope. She and her family lost employment, their home and then her husband was diagnosed with cancer. The center helped her cope with those losses.

"It was hard on my kids," DeSantis said. "You don't come right out and say, 'Oh, I'm depressed,' but they see it, they feel it, they know you're unhappy, that life's hard."

Finding help at the center was the first step for DeSantis, and others.

"I even walked out of the first counseling session thinking, 'maybe I'm OK,' because they made me feel OK," DeSantis said. "They made me feel like we can get to the bottom of this."

The Family Counseling Center will officially celebrate its centennial with a Gala on Nov. 3 by honoring Elizabeth Smart with its Legacy of Hope award.


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