By Meghan Feir
We’ve all been through it – waiting weeks or months for an appointment. Frustration builds and the immediate help you or your loved one direly needs is put on hold.
As the need for immediate assistance grows, waiting weeks for an appointment can be dangerous for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or chemical dependency problems.
ShareHouse, Inc., a provider of chemical dependency and mental health treatment services to adults, is well aware of these concerns and have scheduled walk-in days at Transitions Mental Health Center and Genesis, an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center.
Transitions provides the area’s first walk-in appointments for mental health
In January 2012, ShareHouse, Inc. opened Transitions Mental Health Center (located 505 40th St. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND). Transitions, an outpatient center, provides the area’s first walk-in appointments for mental health every Wednesday. They provide various levels of programming, including mental health diagnostic assessments, individual and group therapy, dialectical behavior therapy skills groups, and psychological testing.
“Our primary purpose here is to assess and treat mental health conditions that go along with chemical dependency,” said Erica Hoff, a psychologist at Transitions Mental Health Center. “We address the mental health concerns that are fueling those addictions. We’re also open to the public as a general mental health center, so people can come in from the community.”
The misconceptions of mental health illnesses, such as depression, have slowly been exposed, and the awareness of how they not only affect one psychologically and emotionally, but physically as well, is being taken more seriously.
However, in this part of the country, the perception of receiving mental health treatment is much more negative than in other parts of the nation, though the need for these services is great.
“The stigma associated with mental health is big here. We’ve got that Midwesterner, tough, ‘I don’t need any help, I can handle this myself’ kind of attitude,” Hoff said, “and that kind of attitude keeps people away from mental health treatment.”
The stigma Hoff is referring to can be emphasized when compared to physical health problems. Those with physical pain are not questioned for paying the doctor a visit. They are encouraged to get help and relieve their ailing. Unfortunately, people dealing with mental health issues often hide under a façade of toughness and self-reliance, though these problems greatly affect their quality of life.
“Mental health problems are a huge source of pain in people’s lives, and it’s a really unrecognized source of pain,” Hoff said. “People recognize physical pain relatively easily. Mental health concerns are something that we hold inside of us. We wonder if it’s normal, if this is something that’s even worth going to the doctor about, and that’s what it does – it makes you feel like you’re different from everyone else.”
Showing your support
It can be difficult to know how to help loved ones suffering from these hardships. The sense of helplessness can be overwhelming, but ultimately, they have to want the help. According to Hoff, supporting them is the main way you can relieve some of the load. They need to know they are not alone.
“They just need to know that it’s OK – you can get treatment, and we’re going to stand by you. Just your love and support goes so far for people,” Hoff said. “We see people who have family support and those who don’t, and it makes a huge difference. Kindness goes a really long way.”
Supporting the person, but not enabling the problem, is crucial during their journey toward receiving help and recovering.
When to seek help: Utilizing walk-in assessments
Seek help “if your mental health or your drug or alcohol use is getting in the way of you doing your regular daily tasks,” said Hoff. “Those are the types of signs that this is really interfering with your life, and that’s what makes something a problem.”
If you find yourself missing out on pivotal life moments and daily activities, ShareHouse encourages a stop during Transitions Mental Health Center’s “Walk-In on Wednesdays,” or, for those dealing with drug or alcohol dependency, to visit Genesis’ “Walk-In on Tuesdays” for a chemical dependency assessment.
ShareHouse Transitions Mental Health Center is served by Dr. Erica Hoff and Dr. Scott Sternhagen, mental health professionals. ShareHouse Genesis is served by five clinicians, Carlee Eckert, LAC; Jess Kriel, LAC, LSW; Jeremy Traen, LAC, LSW, LADC; Roberta Pytlik, LAC; Lisa Cameron, LAC.
No appointment is needed. Just walk in. Help is available. ShareHouse Transitions Mental Health Center and ShareHouse Genesis are located at 505 40th St. South, Fargo.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning how ShareHouse can assist, please call 701-478-8440.