Mayor Ernest Burgess declares May 2017 to be “Mental Health Awareness Month” in Rutherford County

Karen Potratz, Taylor Cochran, Mayor Ernest Burgess (photo by Eric Goodwin)

Photo by Eric Goodwin / Assistant News Editor 

Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess gave a statement Friday in the Rutherford County courthouse to proclaim May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in Rutherford County.

The mayor gave the proclamation alongside Insight Counseling Centers, a nonprofit organization that provides counseling and therapy services to people with mental health issues.

“Now therefore, I, Ernest E. Burgess, mayor of Rutherford County, Tennessee, do hereby issue this proclamation to support and better the lives of local residents by proclaiming the month of May, 2017, to be Mental Health Awareness Month in Rutherford County, Tennessee,” Burgess said.

Burgess said he decided to make the proclamation “because it’s all about letting everyone out there in Rutherford County… truly understand that if they need some help, (or) if they need some counseling or guidance and direction, we want them to know it’s available, and we have people that really care about them.”

Karen Potratz, Insight’s Director of Counseling Services in Murfreesboro, said the group reached out to Burgess because the organization works through grassroots connections.

“This is a community-focused town. People in the community are connected. Everybody… is interested and cares about what matters,” Potratz said.

Insight works with local churches in the community, incorporating both psychology and spirituality into its therapy services. The organization began in 1985 at Vine Street Christian Church in Nashville and has since expanded to seven other locations. The Murfreesboro center is located at First Baptist Church on Main Street.

“Our mission is to restore lives to wholeness, spiritually, mentally and emotionally,” said Taylor Cochran, the Director of Development and Marketing at Insight.

Cochran said counselors do “not necessarily” come from strictly Christian backgrounds, but “by and large, I would say, our staff (does) hold Christian beliefs.” He said the organization makes sure not to impose its own beliefs onto clients, and they accept anyone regardless of “religion, sexual orientation (or) socioeconomic status.”

“I’ve seen from my own personal experience (that) what begins to happen is as you go deeper into therapy, you start asking questions about ‘why’… about God, some of these deep issues that people wrestle with about their faith,” Cochran said.

Cochran said the organization receives funding from “different individuals and organizations” to help subsidize care for patients. Insight’s services operate on a sliding scale fee, meaning customers are charged based on their ability to pay for the services.

Perhaps Insight’s most recognizable achievement has been its “mood walls” that encourage people to wear their emotions. The walls standing in nine Nashville neighborhoods carry buttons associated with over 20 different moods available to be taken and worn.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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