SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – City leaders are trying to get help for the South Sacramento community following the shooting death of Stephon Clark at the hands of two police officers.
“There are articulated needs for mental health services,” said Al Rowlett, a licensed social worker living in the same area as Stephon Clark.
He said many people are still suffering from grief more than two months after the shooting.
Officers shot and killed Clark in his grandmother’s backyard. A weapon was never found. Police thought they saw a gun, but it turned out to be a cellphone.
“Some concerns, some anxiety, some fear of not knowing what the cause of that,” Rowlett said.
Rowlett’s organization, Turning Point, has been offering free counseling at the Meadowview Community Center weekly, hoping to help.
Currently, the city is waiving the fee that’s more than $1,000 for the organization to rent the property.
“This is behavioral health professionals coming together to want to advance the community in ways that make the community feel listened to, heard, and have resources that are effective and helpful,” Rowlett said.
Mental health counseling is something the Clark family called for.
“The people who have mental health issues, they don’t listen to them,” said Stevante Clark, Stephon’s brother, in an interview last month. “I want Sacramento to be the model of how to get things together after these tragedies happen.”
Part of the reason why they hope to continue these sessions in the Meadowview neighborhood is to help community members who often hesitate to seek out counseling on their own.
“There’s nothing wrong with accessing mental health services and support if that is something you need,” Rowlett said.
The ultimate goal of these group sessions is to listen to the community and to ease some of their concerns.
“We are doing it because we believe this is what we should be doing,” he added.
The free hour is held on Thursday’s from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pannell Community Center on Meadowview Road.
The city council will vote Tuesday on whether to continue to waive the fee so the counseling can continue.