An important part of ORCA's mission is to support advocacy and social justice initiatives. We do this by presenting cultural competency CEs as well as supporting the advocacy and legislation efforts of the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy (COPACT).
Since 2010, COPACT has acted as the political arm of ORCA (and formerly of OAMFT) by retaining lobbyists in order to advance access to quality mental health care for all Oregonians. You can visit COPACT’s website to see more of the work COPACT has done and to make a contribution.
COPACT originated in 2010 to protect thePractice Act, resulting in the continued right for LPCs and LMFTs to receive insurance reimbursement for our services and to be legally defined as core providers of mental health services in Oregon (joining Psychiatrists, Nurse Practitioners, Psychologists, and LCSWs). Since that time, our primary focus has been lobbying for legislation that promotes effective mental health care in Oregon.
In 2021 COPACT reviewed 120 bills and was very influential in drafting HB 3046, which enforces parity, reimbursement rates, and network adequacy that will have long-lasting benefits to providers and clients.
The COPACT website is an excellent and free resource for questions about anything from insurance rights and billing codes to telemental health and COVID-19.
Do you ever get confused when you hear all the policy and legal talk around counseling and therapy? What does reading a bill even mean or what do we look for? What happens afterward? What are all these acronyms?
Click here for a helpful sheet to welcome you to the world of mental health policy and working with COPACT, the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy.
helping you find actionable advocacy opportunities
Already an ORCA member, feeling great about supporting COPACT with your ORCA membership dues, and looking for alternative ways to build community, offer support, and continue your passion for life-long learning? Here's your cheat sheet of great local resources (many specific to counselors) that love donations and/or volunteers, alongside some terrific resources for counselor trainings!
The ACLU is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, lobbying, and community engagement. Volunteer opportunities are largely fulfilled by law students and lawyers; donations are always welcomed.
Providing free, confidential telephone support, peer-to-peer support groups, support for co-caregivers, information, and other resources for women dealing with pregnancy and post-partum mood disorders. Volunteers who attend orientations (held around February and September) and who can attend monthly trainings/meetings, are provided one-on-one mentorship and encouraged to join!
Read an article about some of Be Nourished's values, published in The Counselor, here. Be Nourished is a body-positive organization that provides classes, training, and other services for people looking "to move beyond diet culture, unravel tiresome patterns, and regain connection with their bodies." Excellent resource for supporting counselors with learning more about how to walk the walk of body-positivity.
CAP offers support and empowerment to "all people affected by HIV with reducing stigma and providing the LGBTQ+ community with compassionate healthcare." After attending at 90-minute volunteer training (held about twice a month), volunteers are needed to assist with special events (fundraising, art auctions, AIDS Walk Portland), camp counselors, home furnishing delivery people, and with providing referrals to community services.Read an article on the Dougy Center, published in The Counselor, here. "The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences." Volunteer opportunities include office help, fund-raising, and working toward facilitating groups.
EPHC, a 30+ year old Catholic-identified non-profit, "provides a wide array of social services to low-income Latinos in the Portland metro area." Varied volunteer opportunities available.
IRCO supports immigrants, refugees, and mainstream community members to become self-sufficient. They strive in their programming, outreach, and education to foster understanding, compassion, and communications between Oregon's established communities and newest arrivals.
Read an article on Living Yoga, published in The Counselor, here. Their mission is to foster healing and resilience in vulnerable and marginalized populations through providing free and donation-based yoga to communities that might not otherwise have access. After completing a brief trauma-informed teacher training, volunteers are sought to teach gentle yoga classes at a variety of community-based centers. Various alternative trainings around down-regulating somatic exercises and meditation practices also offered regularly.
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
NARA's mission is "to provide education, physical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment that is culturally appropriate to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and anyone in need."
"Guided by our elders and trusted by the community, NAYA creates a place for our people to gather together and live the values of our own unique cultures. When the Native community thrives so does the entire Portland region. NAYA provides culturally specific programs and services that guide our people in the direction of personal success and balance through cultural empowerment. Our continuum of lifetime services creates a wraparound, holistic healthy environment that is Youth Centered, Family Driven, Elder Guided."
"Through a mix of supplemental food programs, traditional food pantries and congregate meal sites, we aim to provide people with access to the type of food assistance they need." Volunteers can help lead nutrition education classes, repack food, assist with gardening, lend a hand at events, and more.
Since 2011, OJRC has worked "to promote civil rights and improve legal representation for communities that have often been underserved in the past: people living in poverty and people of color among them." Projects include: the Oregon Innocence Project, Women's Justice Project, criminal justice reform, and law student training.
Outside In began in 1968, and has continually revised its Homeless Youth Services and medical services to meet changing community needs. Their mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move toward improved health and self-sufficiency. Volunteers can "help support homeless people who need to see a doctor, students furthering their education or employment prospects, and homeless youth who need basic resources like meals and hygiene supplies. Volunteers also provide a variety of administrative supports."
PP's mission is to provide, promote, and protect access to sexual and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood has provided a broad range of sexual and reproductive health care, family planning, and other medical serivces. They also provide advocacy and training around the protection of reproductive rights and freedom. Volunteers are often needed for administrative support, activism, and fundraising assistance.
This community organization provides a safe space to support and celebrate LBGTQ diversity, equity, visability, and community building. The Q Center's community center is always interested in Reception Desk (first point of contact) and Resource Team (LGBTQ+ social service directory updater) volunteers.
This multi-faceted interpersonal violence agency serves individuals and families of all backgrounds, cultures, ages, and sexual orientations.
Read an article about RVP, published in The Counselor, here. Returning Veterans Project provides free, confidential mental health and somatic healthcare services for Post-9/11 war zone veterans and their families in Oregon and southwest Washington state. Licensed folks (or interns whose supervisors agree to their free, excellent trainings) are always needed to provide pro bono counseling.
This non-profit believes that "transportation is a basic human right. Access to transportation means mobility, and being mobile allows a person to connect with his or her community and other essential life destinations." Ride Connection has for over 25 years provided transportation linkages to folks with limited options in the greater Portland metro area. Volunteers help folks navigate public transit, offer rides to appointments, or help with office work or on committees.
"Rose Haven not only helps women and children with basic necessities on a day-to-day basis but our advocates guide them towards building sustainable lives for themselves. In 2017, we served 20,106 meals, our shop distributed 5,105 hygiene kits, and our advocates held 3,473 one-on-one appointments assisting our guests with housing, job searches, and more." Volunteer needs are many, and include helping out in the kitchen, with helping folks shop for clothing, and with activities and classes.
The ROP is committed to social justice and human dignity, and cares about making rural Oregon's communities exciting and vibrant centers for democracy. Founded in 1991, the ROP now has a network supporting over 50 groups across the state of Oregon.
Read an article about SAGE, published in The Counselor, here. They work "to enhance the lives of older LGBT community members through education, advocacy, outreach, and resource development."
This non-profit cafe - where healthy, nutritious meals cost $1.50 (same price since 1979!), can be purchased with SNAP, or can be earned by barter-working - exists "to build authentic relationships and alleviate the hunger of isolation in an atmosphere of nonviolence and gentle personalism that nurtures the whole individual, while seeking systemic solutions that reach the roots of homelessness and poverty to end them forever."
This group represents the merger of two strong organizations - the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) and Oregon Action - who together have decades of experience organizing immigrants, refugees, people of color, and low income Oregonians to address racial and economic disparities and improve the quality of life in our state.
VOZ is a worker-led organization that connects diverse day laborers to local employers, empowers workers and immigrants to improve their condition, and protects civil liberties through leadership development, skills-based education, and economic opportunity making.
The YWCA's mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
The Oregon Counseling Association, in partnership with the American Counseling Association and a host of partner organizations, is urging our members to contact Oregon's federal delegation to support the Federal Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 945) and Senate (S.286).
This important legislation will include licensed professional counselors (LPCs) as covered Medicare providers. Medicare currently does not include licensed professional counselors in its coverage. Even though Medicare beneficiaries are often at higher risk for mental health problems, such as depression and opioid addiction, yet older Americans are the least likely to receive mental health services.
Medicaid recipients can see an LPC and Medicaid will cover them-until they reach 65. Many individuals with private health insurance have mental health coverage but, once they retire, find that they can no longer afford to see an LPC. The passage of this legislation will enable Medicare to help the 4 out 5 seniors currently not receiving much-needed mental health care.
The Oregon Counseling Association is committed to professional advocacy for mental health counselors and our clients. Your membership dues directly fund these efforts via the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy (COPACT).
A collaboration between ORCA and the Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT), COPACT works to advance access to quality mental health care for all Oregonians. COPACT supports legislation that promotes and protects our professions and our clients, working on behalf of all LPCs, LMFTs, registered interns, and counseling and MFT students. COPACT's volunteer board and professional lobbyist are our voice in Salem.
For an idea of some of what COPACT's done for our profession, click here. A few highlights: