Grundy County Memorial Hospital | Live Well | Fall 2020

GCMH Specialty Clinic adds mental health services How to schedule an appointment Black Hawk Grundy Mental Health Center has an open- access scheduling system, which means new clients are seen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you cannot travel to the Waterloo office for the initial evaluation, arrangements may be made to be seen in Grundy County, which may be via tele- health. Call 800-583-1526 to schedule an appointment. You’re not alone. Those may be the single most important words for you to hear if you are feeling anxious, stressed or depressed during the current pan- demic. Just as important is knowing how and where you can find help. The services of UnityPoint Health– Black Hawk Grundy Mental Health Center have expanded locally at Grundy County Memorial Hospital. Jennifer Meether, psychiatric nurse practitioner, recently began seeing clients two days each month as part of the hospital’s outpatient services. Her clinic is in addi- tion to the services of Deb Estes, LISW, who sees clients weekly at the hospital. “The COVID-19 situation is a perfect storm that is impacting our mental health,” says Meether. “Mental health is not talked about enough, but the pan- demic has created so many conditions that are piled on and adding to the nor- mal stresses we face, such as anxiety about the virus and economic factors such as reduced work or job loss.” When to seek help Meether says that difficulty functioning at your normal levels, whether at work or at home, or trouble getting out of bed each day, are signals you should seek professional help. A professional evaluation can help direct you to the services you need. Initial consultation You will likely be seen by one of the center’s licensed mental health staff, who can assist you in determining the services you may need. If you might benefit from medication, you will be scheduled with a psychiatric nurse practitioner or a psychiatrist who can work with you to determine a plan of care involving medication. You will be asked to provide some basic informa- tion about your current concerns and be scheduled with a nurse practitioner or a physician for medical evaluation. This helps to rule out physical reasons for your concerns and evaluates medi- cations and past treatments. Therapy visits Once the initial evaluation is complete, a plan will be developed to address your concerns. This may involve therapy, medication, referrals to sup- port groups or other services. You may request your appointments with Meether or with Estes in Grundy Center, if that is more convenient for you. “I try to make the first visit very relaxed—nothing intimidating or scary,” Meether says. “Our sessions are a place to feel safe as people share their concerns, and I can offer help through therapy and teaching coping skills. The more information that is shared, the better a client can be directed to the right services, including appropriate medication.” Therapy visits may stretch out over six months or longer, depending on individual need. If medication is prescribed, regular appointments are needed to monitor changes. Jennifer Meether, ARNP 2 >> health NEWS