Worker Owned Cooperative
Center Point Counseling Cooperative is a worker owned cooperative; it is the first worker owned mental health cooperative in the nation.
In many ways, worker owned cooperatives operate just like other conventional businesses: they develop a product or service and offer it for sale to the public, with the goal of making enough money to support the business and its owners. They incorporate with the state, get a business license, pay state and federal taxes, have payroll and benefits,
and do all the things that businesses do. Servicing the mental health and wellness needs of a community is an incredible asset; the clinicians at Center Point serve over 1,000 individual clients each year. One of the challenges we face is that mental health has a stigma attached to it; people often don’t want to talk about it or admit they need help. The importance of mental health is massive; all the interdependent relationships that exist between work and family, the individual and their community, can be affected when someone is in crisis.
Knowing and caring about community is a cooperative value; and we the owners of Center Point Counseling Cooperative are hopeful that more mental health worker owned cooperatives will be established in the coming years. Locally owned businesses understand the local economy, and the social needs of their community. We aspire to help other mental health practitioners achieve autonomy, and raise awareness of mental health concerns, and the need for the removal of the mental health stigma.
Worker owned cooperatives create long-term stable jobs, apply sustainable business practices, and are connected with and accountable to their community. In a worker cooperative, workers “own their jobs” and thus have not only a direct stake in the local environment and economy, but have the power to decide to do business in a way that creates community benefit. Not everyone who works in a worker cooperative is an experienced businessperson, and not everyone needs to be; the power of the group comes from each individual’s contribution, skills, passions, and expertise. Being the first mental health cooperative gives us the responsibility to continually lead through innovation; innovation helps bring awareness to the importance of the people we serve.