How to get the help you need when you are experiencing mental health problems

If you are having difficulty coping with life’s stressors or your anxiety, depression or other emotional struggles spill into your daily life, how do you know when it is time to seek mental health services? It may be difficult to know when to seek treatment as stressors in life come and go, and oftentimes eventually resolve themselves in their own time.  A good measure oftentimes depends on the length and degree of suffering and how it is impacting your ability to manage your day-to-day responsibilities, such as at your job or school, or your ability to do routine tasks at home, or its effects on your relationships with family or friends, or your involvement in the community, and mostly on you. 

Oftentimes, the first rule of thumb is to seek consult about your concerns, be it your physician, your minister or even contacting a mental health provider yourself about scheduling an appointment.  It is likely most helpful to also contact your insurance provider to ensure coverage so that finances don’t add to the stressors you are already experiencing.

Mental Health Professionals are usually the profession recommended to be the primary mental health provider.  This is decided by most insurance companies and the Department of Human Services.  Mental Health Professionals include psychologists, licensed independent clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and others who have attained a Master’s degree and specialized training.  Therapists within each profession typically specialize in working with certain types of people and treatment modalities.  Most have specialized skills working with different age groups (e.g., children, adolescents, older adults). Others address certain issues (e.g., drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, depression).  All these professionals must have a license to practice, granted by the state, and, if they choose, have the ability to accept reimbursement from insurance companies.

Initially, after receiving a referral, a Mental Health Professional works with you to better understand the reason you are requesting services and the problems you are facing, such as your current stressors or struggles, areas of concern, and your current symptoms.  The Mental Health Professional asks you more information as well, including your current life situation, your family constellation and background, previous trauma history, any previous mental health treatment you may have received, your medical history, current condition and a listing of your medications, a family history of mental health or medical issues, substance abuse issues, cultural issues that may impact treatment, a review of risk factors and any other areas not included that would be relevant for treatment.  If you believe it would be helpful, information from your medical clinic, previous treatment providers or family members/friends could also be requested with your authorized consent so that a more thorough assessment can be developed.  Usually, this gathering of information takes approximately 1-2 sessions.  The clinician then formulates a comprehensive assessment (“Diagnostic Assessment”) that summarizes and examines your current condition so as to best capitulate recommendations for treatment.

Part of the Diagnostic Assessment includes making recommendations about the type of treatment that would most likely be effective for you.  This includes a wide assortment of mental health services, depending on your eligibility and need. 

  • Out-patient Psychotherapy for children and adults provides mental health treatment in the office setting, usually covered by third party payers.  Sessions are usually 45-60 minutes in duration and scheduled weekly or alternate weeks, depending on the need and time line.  The length of treatment is dependent on the progress made on a treatment plan which is developed with the therapist and yourself after the Diagnostic Assessment is completed, and then reviewed on a quarterly basis. 
  • Adult Rehabilitation Mental Health Services for adults and Children Therapeutic Support Services for children are programs that assist individuals within the home to learn skills so that they are more able to function at home, work/school or with friends and social settings.  This service is paid by MA or PMAP’s and is not covered under commercial insurance.
  • Case Management is a service that helps children and adults get hooked up with and monitor mental health services you may be eligible for.  Individuals receive this service if their mental health symptoms are severe to a point in which they require more intensive services, such as psychiatric hospitalization, residential services or intensive aftercare or outreach services.  If eligible, this is a free service usually provided by the county or subcontracted out.
  • Psychological Evaluation is a service in which children and adults get tested to determine current diagnosis and recommendations for treatment (e.g., IQ testing, personality testing, ADD/ADHD testing, gastro by-pass testing, etc.).  As third-party payers are particular about what battery of tests they will cover, it is important to contact your insurance carrier to ensure coverage.
  •  Psychiatric Monitoring/Consultation is a service in which adults and children are reviewed and monitored for the effectiveness of psychotropic medications.  Although psychiatrists can provide counseling services, they oftentimes can only do so on a time limited basis due to the high demand for psychiatric time, especially in rural areas
  • Other services may also be referred or recommended based on the findings of the Diagnostic Assessment, and can include vocational, medical, educational, public assistance, transportation options, school-based services, etc.

At St. Williams Mental Health Services, there are two primary mental health programs:

  1. Out-patient psychotherapy for children and adults
    • Criteria
      • Third party coverage and signed fee agreement
      • Condition requires a mental health diagnosis identified in the Diagnostic Assessment
      • Condition can be improved/treated and a treatment plan is devised and tracked
  2. ARMHS for adults in Otter Tail and Douglas counties.
    • Criteria
      • Reside in Otter Tail County or Douglas County
      • Third party coverage with MA or a PMAP and signed fee agreement
      • Individual requires skill-based services to reduce effects of mental health issues

**St. Williams is offering a one-time ½ hour free consultation to those that have not received services from St. Williams previously.  This could be used to review your current struggles and consider treatment options.  This can be scheduled with the mental health professional.

St. Williams Mental Health has two main offices at this time.  One office is located in a separate section on the east side of the St. Williams Living Center complex, at 212 West Soo Street in Parkers Prairie.  The other office is held at the Marian Building, Office 264, in Alexandria, MN at 700 Cedar Street SE. Contact Us today to learn more, you can reach us at 218-338-5945.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We would much appreciate the opportunity to further explain our services and how we better serve you.

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW, Out-patient Psychotherapist/Supervisor

Kayla Svor, BSW, ARMHS Director