Many times psychologist and Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Linda Soucek sees people who can't pay the amount of a therapy visit, many of whom don't have insurance and don't have much money for anything. While the co-payment for an office visit is $60, Sister Linda charges them $5. The Notre Dame Ministry Fund makes up the difference.
One such client relying on this assistance, a woman who is a former radio announcer and television reporter, who after decades of depressive free-fall, "doesn't have a half-penny extra," says Sister Linda.
As a teenager, the woman showed promise as a pianist and won admittance to a New York music conservatory.
"But," says Sister Linda, "though she was good, she wasn't that good. And that still lingers with her."
So do two failed marriages, one to an alcoholic. So do two abortions.
All of it, added together, led to a massive bout with depression, "And it was the depression," says Sister Linda, "that threw her off the rails."
The woman swallowed a suicidal amount of pills but didn't die.
"Most people, they come because something pushed them over the edge and they know they can't handle it. And they come saying, "teach me how to handle this."
Sister Linda, working with the woman, is doing her best.
The woman owns a house, but it's in a state of neglect with the authorities sending notices. The woman can do little about it. "She is so anxious she can't go out and get another job. And she's so depressed she spends most of her day in bed watching TV or reading romance novels. A couple times a day she walks her dog."
When she was younger, the woman said to Sister Linda, "I couldn't wait to get home because the piano was everything to me." Now the piano sits idle by the wall.
"Depression, you can have a free period, but it usually comes around again," says Sister Linda. "Anxiety is usually constant, maybe an ebb and flow. And it's going to make your life smaller and smaller. Our job is to push that envelope, to make your life bigger again.
"Mental issues are about management, getting to the point where you are the best you can be."
That's Sister Linda's goal for the woman, who still has her house, still has her dog, and who is independent as opposed to being in a state-run institution.
"Every person is like a wounded child of God," says Sister Linda. "If I can intervene, if I can bind up those wounds, that's my calling."
Published in 2020 Annual Report