Why We Started

The Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP) was founded in 1991 by and is governed by all of the licensed mental health professional societies in Maryland.

A Public Service Project of:

  • Maryland Chapter, National Association of Social Workers
  • Maryland Psychological Association
  • Maryland Psychiatric Society
  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland
  • Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work
  • Middle Atlantic Division of American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

The Pro Bono Counseling Project assures that uninsured or under-insured, low-income families and individuals in need of mental health care are linked with licensed mental health professionals who provide care on a volunteer basis at no cost. This non-profit 501c(3) corporation supports the volunteer efforts of participating clinicians, by distributing those cases that could not be served by any other means, and collecting and reporting data. 

Since the 501c(3) non-profit organization was formed in the early nineties, the vision of the availability of quality mental health care throughout Maryland for all those in need continues unchanged. During this time, more than 27,500 uninsured, low income families and individuals throughout Maryland were linked with over 1,802 licensed and insured therapists who donated in excess of 102,000 hours for their care. The equivalent value of this donation exceeds $9.4 million. Therapists donated their livelihood so that these families and individuals would have access to mental health care.

No other public or privately funded organization provides the unique services of the Pro Bono Counseling Project, which is to provide free mental health services for low income individuals and families, who are without medical insurance. Clients of the PBCP are the individuals and families most at risk of falling between the cracks because they are earning too much to qualify for state mental health benefits yet are unable to afford paying for counseling on their own. 

PBCP’s mission and goals are unique in the United States and PBCP now serves as a model for other states - assisting MA, CO, NC, OH, NYC, TN, and NV with their planning and implementation process. To read more about the training and technical assistance opportunities offered by PBCP see training and technical assistance section >>
“It’s a privilege to help people who otherwise really couldn’t access mental health counseling. I’ve met some very inspiring clients throughout this process.”

Israela Meyerstein, LCSW-C, Lutherville MD

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