News + Events

Celebrating Hope is in Bloom: A Recap of Our Springtime fundraiser 

On May 22nd, we held our much-anticipated springtime fundraiser, “Hope is in Bloom”, at Highland Brewing Company’s beautiful Event Space. The evening brought together a vibrant community of supporters dedicated to improving mental health care in Western North Carolina. 

Guests enjoyed an evening filled with the upbeat swing of live jazz performed by Queen Bee & the Honeylovers. The culinary experience was elevated by a selection of mouth-watering appetizers from local favorites: Twisted Laurel, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, and Chestnut.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Pam Penland Mental Health Champion Award. This year’s recipient, Chad R. Donnahoo, Esq., a long-time ASCC Board member and Board Chair, was honored for his unwavering dedication to enhancing the mental health landscape in the region.

The event featured insightful speeches from notable community partners, including Chief Mike Lamb from the Asheville Police Department, Cheryl Antoncic from Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ and a dedicated mental health advocate, and Tessa Scarborough from the MAHEC Clinical Psychiatry Department. Their words underscored the importance of collaboration and community support in addressing mental health challenges.

We are immensely grateful to our staff, counselors, volunteers, sponsors, and community partners who have been instrumental in ASCC’s growth and impact. Your support and enthusiasm at Hope is in Bloom were palpable, and together, we’ve taken significant steps towards raising awareness and expanding resources for mental health care. Thank you for making this evening memorable and for helping us continue our critical work in the year ahead.

May 2024 Outreach and Community Engagement

  1. Given’s Estates Health Fair: Full-time therapist, Adam Lewis, and Outreach and Community Engagement Manager, Victoria Hensley, attended the Given’s Estates Health Fair where Adam presented on “When the Emotional Becomes Physical” and led two mindfulness exercises. 
  2. Asheville Chamber Challenge 5k: Our team laced up our sneakers for the annual Asheville Chamber Challenge 5k. We are proud to be apart of a team that values both physical and mental health! 
  3. Botiwalla Mental Health Presentation: We were invited to come speak to the staff at Botiwalla restaurant about our sliding scale mental health services and the importance of destigmatizing seeking help and talking about mental health. 
  4. Reynolds Middle School Mental Health Expo- We were invited to the Reynolds Middle School Health Fair where we presented on coping skills and activities that are good for mental health, such as practicing self care and mindfulness. 
  5. Noah Kahan Concert Nonprofit Community Partner: We were thrilled to be selected as one of Noah Kahan’s mental health community partners and were able to table and attend two of his concerts at Harrah’s Cherokee Center. 

We’re participating in the Target Circle giving program!

Now through June 30th, you can vote for us and help direct Target’s charitable giving to benefit All Souls Counseling Center. Voting is easy!
1. Go to the Target App or visit Target online
2. Select the “Target Circle” banner – Create an account if you don’t already have one (it’s fast) & choose join
3. Select “vote for nonprofits” (Every eligible purchase you make at Target is equal to one vote)
**Make sure to choose a store in WNC
4. Find “All Souls Counseling Center” and vote!
Every time you shop, you earn votes and the more votes a nonprofit gets, the larger percentage of money the nonprofit receives at the end of the quarter. For full program details and restrictions, visit Target Circle Community Giving.

February 2024 Outreach & Community Engagement

  1. Our Outreach & Community Engagement Manager, Victoria Hensley, attended a Women for Women Lunch & Learn: Mental Health Spotlight – Preventing Youth Suicide with presenters from Youth Villages and MAHEC. She learned about services that provide mental health support to youth and families who may be struggling, such as in-home care, assessments and school-based therapy programs. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death for ages 15-25 in Buncombe County? 
  2. After many years of preparation and hard work, Haywood Street Community Development officially broke ground on construction for a 41-unit affordable housing project in downtown Asheville. We are honored to be apart of the Ground Blessing Ceremony. 
  3. Victoria and Mary stopped by Grind AVL for a coffee break where they met one of their staff members, Mark, who gladly offered to post an All Souls Counseling Center flyer on their community bulletin! Thanks for the support, Grind AVL! 
  4. As Asheville Area Chamber Members, Victoria was able to attend the PROpel Grow Series: ‘Mastering Influence: Transforming Leadership Dynamics‘ where presenter Jennifer Germaine uncovered how to effectively navigate and reshape interactions and foster a culture of empathy, effective communication, and impactful leadership. 
  5. For the second year in a row, our team attended the Craggy Correctional Transitional Fair where we engaged with around 70 inmates who will soon be released. Along with several of our community partners, we showed up to highlight resources and services that are available and encourage inmates to reach out for support. 

Welcome New Staff Member: Janet Shelton! 

Janet joined our team in February 2024 as our Finance and Operation’s Support and we are thrilled to have her as our newest staff member! Janet has over 20 years of experience working in the healthcare arena as an administrator and also runs her own bookkeeping business. As an Asheville native, she loves to explore the brewery and restaurant scene, as well as enjoy the beautiful outdoors that surround our area. She is a proud cat-mom to two cats and is currently undergoing a 1972 Corvette restoration project in her free time!

Welcome New Board Member: Brandy Mills! 

We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Brandy Mills to our Board of Directors! As Owner and Executive Coach of Brandy Mills Consulting, she brings over a decade of experience of helping businesses grow and succeed. In addition to her role as a consultant, Brandy’s 20+ years of experience as a Registered Nurse with regional hospitals and deep understanding of behavioral health enriches our mission and is a huge asset to our leadership team.

Meredith Switzer Participates on Mental Health Safety Net Panel at Legislative Health Policy Fellows Event

On Monday, February 5th, our Executive Director had the honor of serving on the Mental Health Safety Net Panel for the Legislative Health Policy Fellows at the Casso Hotel in Raleigh. Hosted by the NC Institute of Medicine, the Legislative Health Policy Fellows Program brings together legislators from the NC Senate and NC House to dig deeper into the data, information, policy options, and knowledge necessary for effective health policy decision-making. This was an opportunity to not only raise awareness around mental health safety nets – health care providers designed to support those in our community who are most vulnerable – but also represent the important mission of All Souls Counseling Center in the western region of our state.

Celebrating Unity at the 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast

Our team members celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by attending a truly impactful morning at the 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast. The theme for this year, “Still Marching Forward: Fighting for Justice Never Ends,” resonated with our shared commitment to celebrating equality, pursuing justice, and embracing the strength of unity. The keynote address by Asheville native James E. Ferguson II left a profound impact on us, and witnessing North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein present James E. Ferguson with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine was a particularly awe-inspiring moment for our team.

 

Exciting News! Join us in welcoming our new Development Director, Mary Waller!

Mary brings creativity and diverse expertise from her roles in large and small non-profits, including team leadership at an urban church and a statewide conservation project. She was also co-owner and operator of an award-winning PR firm and was a lead storyteller for a cancer hospital and an NIH-funded brain research institute.

Originally from Oklahoma, Mary was drawn to Asheville’s nature-forward culture. She’s a mom of three, loves hiking, historical fiction, coffee, and hopes to expand her nascent fly fishing skills. 

Want to reach out to Mary and extend a warm welcome or share ideas? Drop her an email at mary@allsoulscounseling.org or give her a call at 828-259-3369 x 109. She’s excited to hear from you! 📧📞

 

Meredith Switzer, ASCC Executive Director featured on the Asheville Area Focus podcast!  

Our Executive Director, Meredith Switzer, was invited as a guest speaker on the Asheville Area Focus podcasted, hosted by Melanie and Michael from Asheville Radio Group. They discussed the state of mental health in Western North Carolina, the challenges with accessing affordable services, the intersection of homelessness and mental health, and how you can get involved! To listen to the full episode, please click the link below:

https://mymix965.com/podcasts/all-souls-counseling-center-11-26-2023/

 

Wednesday November 1, 2023: ASCC featured on Asheville’s ‘The Overlook’ Podcast! 

We are so excited to be the featured guests on an episode of The Overlook Podcast hosted by Matt Peiken! Our Executive Director, Meredith Switzer, along with Brendan Hughes, discussed the rise in demand for mental healthcare, normalizing conversations around mental health struggles, and how All Souls Counseling Center is evolving and breaking down barriers to access quality mental health services! Check out this week’s episode by clicking the link below!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/2125704/13863633

ASCC is working with Equity Over Everything’s Aisha Adams on a DEI audit!

We’re excited to share that we’re taking a bold step towards a brighter, more inclusive future! We are currently undergoing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion audit with DEI consultant Aisha Adams with Equity Over Everything! Change starts from within, so our team has been meeting weekly with Aisha throughout the month of October to evaluate our current practices, identify where there are needs for improvement, and make changes to better serve our community. We believe that everyone deserves compassion and we are committed to fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse organization to ensure affordable mental health services are as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Celebrating World Mental Health Day with Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ in Asheville!

Join us on Tuesday October 10th for a fundraiser for World Mental Health Day. Live Music, Activities, and a Great Cause!
-Live music by The Lefties
-Guided Watercolor Painting
-Messages of Hope
-Games and Activities
-Craft Beer, Mocktails, & Cocktails
-Award-Winning BBQ
-Drink ticket included in $10 entry donation
Proceeds will be donated to All Souls Counseling Center! To learn more, check out the Facebook Event here! 

All Souls Counseling Center Awarded $10,000 Grant from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce!

We are 1 of 13 local nonprofit organizations who have been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce! Our team had such a fun time celebrating at the Chamber’s 125th anniversary party where their parking lot was completely transformed into Asheville Through the Looking Glass! We are so very grateful for the support from the Asheville Chamber and our community! Thank you to Rusty Edwards from First Bank for presenting our grant award! As Rusty said, “Together we are more resilient!”

Thanks to everyone who attended our first annual 2023 Mental Health Matters: Walk/Run for Awareness! 

On Saturday, September 23rd we held our first annual Mental Health Matters: Walk/Run for Awareness at UNCA! We were thrilled to be the first community event at the newly renovated Karl Straus Track and were blown away by the amount of students, athletic teams, families, colleagues and friends who showed up in the spirit of supporting mental health.

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to all our volunteers, community partners, our Presenting Sponsor First Bank and our Media Sponsor WLOS News 13 for making this event possible! We are especially grateful to UNC-Asheville for allowing us to be the first community event at the newly renovated Karl Straus Track. We couldn’t have done it without your support and are looking forward to hosting the Mental Health Matters Walk/Run again next year!

Special thank you to our event photographers, Paul King and John Lesh, for capturing the fun and excitement of the 2023 Mental Health Matters: Walk Run for Awareness! You can visit our event photo gallery here! 

Tuesday June 6th: Announcing the Green Ribbon Society

We’re so excited to announce the launch of The Green Ribbon Society, a leadership giving circle designed to honor some of our most dedicated supporters. Individuals, businesses, or organizations that give $1200 or more annually (or only $100 per month) will automatically become members of The Green Ribbon Society, named after the international symbol for mental health awareness. A gift of $1200 covers the cost of a full six months of weekly therapy sessions for one of our clients.
Membership includes access to exclusive receptions where you can engage with community and business leaders that value innovative solutions to mental health, along with ASCC’s leadership and Board of Directors. You’ll be the first to know about exciting updates on our work and gain access to compelling social and educational events with our community partners and therapists. Members will be recognized in our Annual Report, email newsletters, and on our website. Your Green Ribbon Society membership will demonstrate your leadership in the mental health community and help ensure the longevity of our services for years to come. We’ll be hosting our first Green Ribbon Society reception at Momentum Gallery in the late summer, and we hope you’ll become a member so we can see you there.
We are so thankful to First Horizon Foundation for their sponsorship of The Green Ribbon Society!

Wednesday May 24th: Women for Women Grants $64,650 to ASCC

We are so incredibly grateful to have received the 2023 Women for Women grant through the Community Foundation of WNC! With these funds, All Souls Counseling Center will expand our individual and group trauma-informed mental health services to more women in WNC with a focus on individuals who have experienced domestic or sexual violence. We are grateful to be partnering with Our Voice, Helpmate and Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) to support survivors of crime. Thank you so much Women for Women Giving Circle for supporting such important work in our community!

Thursday May 18: ASCC 2023 Winner of Sky High Growth Awards 

We are honored to be selected as one of the winners of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 Sky High Growth Awards! The Sky High Growth Awards celebrates the determination and accomplishments of Asheville’s rising businesses and nonprofits. Honorees are organizations experiencing growth and contributing to our local economy through innovation. We certainly have grown tremendously in the last year and we had a great time celebrating with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and fellow award recipients at Sierra Nevada Brewery!

Friday May 5th: 2023 Chamber Challenge 5k!

We celebrated workplace wellness at the 2023 Asheville Chamber Challenge 5k! Meredith, Brendan and Victoria boosted their mental health by getting out in the sunshine to exercise and surround themselves with friends and colleagues! We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Exercise can have a positive impact on mental health in a number of ways. Here are a few:

💚Reduces stress and anxiety
💚Improves mood
💚Boosts self-esteem
💚Increases cognitive function
💚Reduces symptoms of mental health disorders

Thursday May 4: Prestige Subaru Shares the Love with ASCC 

As many of you know, we were honored to be Prestige Subaru’s Share the Love Event partner at the end of 2022, and we are thrilled to announce that their campaign generated $20,000 in funds for All Souls Counseling Center!! This incredible gift greatly impacts our organization by supporting our mission of providing mental health services to community members who are uninsured or underinsured and do not have the means to afford therapy, and will allow us to provide approximately 400 counseling sessions!

Thank you so much to Prestige Subaru and their incredible team for their wonderful gift and for Sharing the Love with All Souls Counseling Center!

Monday May 1: Mental Health Day at Reynolds Middle School

We kicked off Mental Health Awareness Month by presenting on the topic of mindfulness at Reynolds Middle School’s Mental Health Day. Our Executive Director, Meredith Switzer asked a class “what is mindfulness?” and here are a few of their answers:

💚“Being aware of your mental health”
💚“Being aware of others’ mental health”
💚”Being aware of your emotions and how to control them”

Meredith taught an 8th class about mindful breathing, mindful observation and mindful awareness. She also emphasized the importance of eliminating negative self talk, practicing self-affirmations and that your mental health is JUST AS IMPORTANT as your physical health.

Thank you to Reynolds Middle School for having us and for dedicating a day to emphasize the importance of taking care of your mental health for the young minds in our community!

Monday April 17th: Our Spring Fundraising Campaign has begun! 

Our Spring Fundraising Campaign is off to an amazing start and so far we’ve already raised $17,000! 👏 Thanks to the incredible generosity of two donors, up to $15,000 of donations towards our campaign will be matched dollar for dollar. You can ensure that your gift has even greater impact by donating today.

Between now and the end of June, our goal is to raise $45,000 that will go directly into providing vital mental health counseling, outreach, and education, with a focus on individuals that don’t have insurance or who can’t afford therapy with their current insurance. Will you help us achieve our goal and give the life-changing gift of therapy to someone who needs it?

Visit www.allsoulscounseling.org/donate to contribute to our Spring Fundraising Campaign!

Wednesday February 8th: Providing Therapy Sessions at Haywood Street Congregation

Exciting Announcement!! One of our amazing therapists, Tim Bandell, is now onsite at The Haywood Street Congregation every Wednesday from 9:30am-1:30pm…the exact same time as their Welcome Table lunch ministry. There are so many incredible services offered during this time of “holy chaos”….free haircuts, acupuncture, health screenings, and an art therapy room. Thanks to a generous donor, we are thrilled to be able to provide a support therapist who will offer counseling services in a quiet, confidential room right across from the dining hall.

As a psychotherapist, he believes whole-heartedly in the importance of the therapeutic relationship and he strives to establish a sense of trust, connection, and shared understanding throughout the duration of treatment. His hope for his clients is that they can cultivate a deeper understanding of the issues that are bringing them into counseling while also finding practical and effective ways to confront and navigate the challenges that they are struggling with. He prefers to invite and guide rather than direct in the healing process, helping individuals to truly embrace their inner-wisdom and inner-healer along the way.

February 2nd: We’re New Members of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce!

We are beyond excited to now be Members of the Chamber and access a plethora of business resources, attend networking events, and receive development and educational support. Brendan and Victoria attended the Fresh Faces event to learn about all the membership perks, and Victoria and Meredith attended the February Business After-hours to network and chance to win prizes from other local businesses. Did you know that the Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 125 years? Cheers to that!

ASCC Welcomes New Outreach and Community Engagement Manager

We are excited to announce our new Outreach and Community Engagement Manager: Victoria Hensley! Victoria was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA and moved to North Carolina in 2011 to attend High Point University. In 2015 she graduated from HPU with a B.A in Business Administration and minors in Marketing and Anthropology.

From 2015-2021 she worked in High Point, NC on food security and local food initiatives and started her own non-profit called Growing High Point. Victoria and her husband now live in Asheville and enjoy hiking with their two dogs, exploring the local food scene, and traveling! 

“I am beyond excited to join the All Souls team and be part of such a wonderful organization. In this new role, I am eager to create more awareness around mental wellness, help promote the amazing services that ASCC has to offer, and develop new connections with those who are underserved in our community.” -Victoria H. 

ASCC interviewed by WLOS regarding new state action plan to prevent suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and WLOS News 13 interviewed our Executive Director Meredith Switzer regarding a new North Carolina action plan to reduce the rate of deaths and injuries related to suicide. In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for ages 10-18 in the state. For those ages 19-34, suicide was the third leading cause of death that year. Check out the article to learn more about the 7 areas the state will be focusing on in their plan and how ASCC is working to address this crisis. Click here to read the full plan. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

ASCC featured in WLOS’ Spotlight Carolina (again!) to promote the Mental Wellness Walk

Our Executive Director Meredith Switzer was featured in another WLOS News 13 Spotlight Carolina segment to highlight our upcoming Mental Wellness Walk on Saturday, September 10th. We were joined by our partners from NAMI Western Carolina with Board Chair Betsy White speaking for NAMI. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to WLOS News 13 for highlighting our important work of spreading the word about the mental health resources in our community and ending the stigma around seeking help! For more information about the Mental Wellness Walk, please visit www.mentalwellnesswalk.org

ASCC interviewed for Spotlight Carolina

ASCC’s Executive Director Meredith Switzer was interviewed by WLOS News 13 for Spotlight Carolina in May of 2022. Watch the video below!

ASCC selects its new Executive Director: Meredith Switzer

 

We’re thrilled to announce the selection of Meredith Switzer as our new Executive Director. Switzer has served as Interim Executive Director for ASCC since January and begins the permanent position this week.

I’m delighted and honored to have been chosen to lead this wonderful organization forward,” said Switzer. “Serving as interim leader for three months has allowed me to work closely with dedicated staff, board members, clinicians and community partners who care deeply about the accessibility of affordable mental health services for all. There are exciting opportunities to increase the profile and impact of ASCC in our region and I am eager and ready to embark on this important work.

Switzer joins us after more than 20 years in nonprofit leadership. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Homeward Bound, the region’s largest homeless services provider, and has served in leadership capacities – either on staff, Board of Directors, or Advisory Council – for more than 15 area nonprofits. She has dedicated her career to finding solutions to challenging community issues including food insecurity, access to mental health services, availability of affordable quality childcare, homelessness, and public education.

Switzer is a graduate of Leadership Asheville and Leadership North Carolina and currently serves on the WomanUP Committee for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. She was recognized as the Chamber’s “Outstanding Woman in Nonprofit Leadership” in January 2021 and was a recipient of their COVID Humanitarian Award in October 2021 for her executive leadership through the pandemic. She holds a B.A. in Broadcast Communications from UNC Chapel Hill and a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University.

ASCC Board President Chad Donnahoo said, “the Board is thrilled with Meredith’s selection as the new ASCC Executive Director. Given her past experiences with area nonprofits and her strong leadership skills, the Board feels that Meredith is the ideal individual to successfully lead ASCC in the coming years.

Please join us in welcoming Meredith and this exciting new era of leadership for our organization.

ASCC featured in two WLOS News 13 stories

ASCC’s Interim Executive Director Meredith Switzer was interviewed by WLOS News 13 in February 2022 for two stories regarding the mental health crisis in WNC during the pandemic and the links between mental health and homelessness. Check out the videos and articles below!

Click here for the video/article on the mental health crisis in WNC during the pandemic

Click here for the video/article on the links between mental health and homelessness

 

Check out our video interview with therapist Marilyn Kolton!

We interviewed our longtime therapist Marilyn Kolton and she discussed her experience working at All Souls Counseling Center, our mission, and what our services bring to the community.

Client Testimonials

This place has been a literal life-saver. I have never felt more respected or understood by a counselor. Now that I’ve come here I can’t imagine what I’d do without this place.

I am so thankful for ASCC. [My counselor] has been amazing to work with...it's been so helpful to be able to utilize this service and the much needed support I've been searching for. 

I feel very safe talking with [my therapist]. She always listens to everything I need to say and responds with great empathy and understanding. She has helped me open up more and revisit things that I thought I had dealt with but in fact are still challenging my mental health more than I thought they were. We have been working very hard to get to the root of my problems instead of just fixing whats more visible on the surface.

ASCC has helped my partner and I have a better quality of life that we otherwise would not have been able to afford. Thank you.

[My counselor’s] calm accepting demeanor helped me feel comfortable and safe in discussing anything. Her suggestions were pivotal and realistic in helping me deal more successfully with my anxiety.

My experience here at All Souls has been so life changing. The amount of compassion and dedication I feel here is so comforting. I wasn’t sure I would ever get my mind and life back but I did and I’m so grateful for this place, I love it!

I am so glad to have found All Souls. I would not have been able to receive therapy otherwise!

[My counselor] brought so much light to our marital issues. He helped us work through years of built up negativity. With his guidance, we were able to find our love and compassion for each other again.

I have come for both individual as well as couples therapy and I love the level of care I receive here. So thankful to have found you guys.

My sessions with [my therapist] have really changed a lot for me. Eliza is always knowledgeable, nonjudgemental, unbiased, and thoroughly insightful. I have never been happier with a therapist.

I'm so glad I found ASCC. I had been in therapy/counseling before, but it had become too expensive. It was important that I had a therapist and I have felt an improvement in my mental health.

[My counselor] has been a vital part of working my way out of a very difficult time in my life. She listened attentively, asked difficult questions that needed to be asked and with a sincere sense of compassion.

I’ve noticed the changes in my personal life have gotten better and with the help of counseling I’m more happier and able to see growth.

[My counselor] is very likely saving my life. My gratitude has no measure. Thank you.