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Open house to highlight openings at mental health provider

Free Press - 10/28/2023

Oct. 28—MANKATO — A youth mental health treatment provider in Mankato has an upcoming open house to highlight openings and expanded programming.

Christian Family Solutions will host the drop-in event at its 44 Good Counsel Drive from 4:30-6:30 p.m.Nov. 9.

The openings in the organization's day treatment group programs come during a time when monthslong waits aren't uncommon for accessing mental health services.

"We're really able to get things turned around pretty quickly," said Michaela Farley, marriage and family therapist at Christian Family Solutions. "I'd say people can expect to be in the program in maybe 10-14 days."

The openings include spots in morning and afternoon groups for females, an afternoon group of males and an online program. After pausing the male group about a year ago, the provider brought it back within the last month or so with an increase in staffing.

Day treatment includes 15 hours of mental health services per week. Farley said the programs are for youth between 13-18 years old with moderate to severe depression, anxiety, trauma-related conditions and more mental health needs.

The open house can help establish relationships between providers and families in need, Farley said, which plays a big role in therapy success.

"Therapeutic connection is one of the biggest indicators for having successful outcomes in therapy," she said. "We can show them our therapy rooms, give them a walkthrough."

That way, she added, no one is starting from square one on their first day. They see the facility, meet their provider and see if the fit is good.

Although Christian is in the organization's name, people need not come from that faith background to take part in the programs. Providers come from a faith background, Farley said, but clients decide if they want it incorporated into their services.

Patrick Clark, a youth mental health navigator with Mankato Area Public Schools, is familiar with Christian Family Solutions through his work connecting families to providers in the area. October, November, March and April are some of the busiest times for referrals, he said, and wait times for services can last about three to six months on average.

Christian Family Solutions' day treatment expansion plus new providers starting up in the community are responding to the higher demand, he added.

"There's a huge need and people are trying to meet it," he said.

With day treatment provided by Christian Family Solutions, other forms of treatment at PrairieCare, and the services offered at more providers, he sees an intensive hospitalization program as the biggest unaddressed need in the Mankato area. These programs address severe mental health needs, and youth are needing to go to Rochester, the Twin Cities, or farther for it.

He hears from families who've dealt with long wait times and said they're always thankful when they find out it may not be as long as they expected. As a navigator, working closely with places such as Christian Family Solutions means he can alert families to openings.

After the open house, Farley said the provider can begin the intake process with families in short order. She encouraged any family in need to stop by, because even if the client needs another type of treatment, the provider can serve as a referral.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

If You Go What: Christian Family Solutions open house When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 Where: 44 Good Counsel Drive

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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