Psychiatry Clinic Grand Opening Celebrates Interfaith Effort to Provide Health Care to St. Louis Community

A St. Louis County proclamation was presented at the celebration, designating Jan. 19 “Salam Clinic Day” in the county.

UCC-related Deaconess Nurse Ministry and the physicians from St. Louis’ Muslim Community Services are once more expanding the free services provided by Salam Clinic. The Salam Psychiatry Clinic started serving the community Sunday, Jan. 26, and is open every Sunday from 12-4 p.m. for appointments and walk-ins.

The interfaith health professional volunteers at Salam Medical Clinic have been serving under-insured and uninsured residents every Saturday at locations housed in local churches in North St. Louis, the St Louis neighborhood of Benton Park, and Ferguson, Mo. St. Peter’s UCC in Ferguson is the home of the new Psychiatry Clinic.

“If we can address the mental health of those who struggle to get the care, and bring wholeness and hope, we are doing what we are called to do,” says the Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo, RN, executive director of Deaconess Nurse Ministry. Deaconess is “about whole person health, and this clinic helps those who need mental health services to have the wholeness they need.”

The grand opening celebration took place Jan. 19, and featured speeches from Dr. Zia Ahmad, founder and medical director of Salam Clinic, the Rev. George Graham of the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, Imam Muhemad Hassiq of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, St. Peter’s pastor the Rev. Patrick Chandler, and the Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel, conference minister of the UCC’s Missouri Mid-South Conference. The event included the presentation of proclamation from St. Louis County Executive Sam Page proclaiming Jan. 19 “Salam Clinic Day” in St. Louis County.

The Rev. Patrick Chandler (second from left), senior pastor at St. Peter’s, with the Salam Clinic physicians.

Graham says he is “very impressed by the partnership between St. Peter’s UCC, Deaconess Nurse Ministry, and physicians from the Muslim community. This new clinic provides access to mental health services for a particularly vulnerable population by building on the medical services that are already being provided successfully. The Salam Clinic is a stellar example of how CHHSM members work with congregations and other partners to respond to community needs in creating a more just, caring and compassionate world.”

The mental health services provided at the new clinic include diagnosis and treatment of common psychiatric and behavioral health problems for children, adolescents, and adults. Counseling services to help patients deal with their problems and improve function in society also will be offered as resources permit. The clinic will make referrals to local counseling centers as needed. Appointments can be made through St. Peter’s, but walk-ins are welcome, too.

“The collaborative spirit that created the Salam Psychiatry Clinic is the embodiment of a Just World for All,” says the Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel. “St. Peter’s UCC offered its space, the Muslim community offered their psychiatrists, the Deaconess Nurse Ministry offered their nurses, and St. Louis county offered their political support — all for the mental health and wholeness of all residents.”

“This is humanity on our best day,” Daniel adds. “May the wholeness of Allah’s love for all be expressed at the Salam clinic and throughout St. Louis for years to come.”

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