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Lake Country mental health services opens on Bridge Street

Lake Country Associates, Inc. staff members include front, from left, Deborah Farrell, Susanne Holmen and Dawn Pappas, back, Jean Greseth, Shawn Anderson and Sandee Edelman-Karl. Not pictured: Mary Girtz, Laura Kirlin and Harold "Spike" Wellman. LCA is hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 to introduce the community to their new facility at 515 Bridge St. East. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. (Jean Ruzick...

Lake Country Associates, Inc., providing community mental health services, has opened at 515 Bridge St. East, the four managing partners and staff familiar faces to Park Rapids area residents.

Managing partners Deb Farrell, Jean Greseth, Dawn Pappas and Shawn Anderson have been working together since 2001through the Bemidji-based Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center.

"We wanted to be in a position to more readily respond to the needs of the community," Farrell, Master of Social Work (MSW) and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), said of the decision to open the facility. "We wanted to be in charge of the growth and development of services."

"We have worked together for several years and decided it was time to start our business," Greseth, MSW, LICSW, said. "To have an office based locally."

The clinic works with all ages, children to elderly, Pappas, also MSW, LICSW, explained. "We work with life adjustments," such as grief and loss issues, "to severe mental illness."

Shawn Anderson is the LCA's Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) treatment coordinator.

ARMHS is skill development assistance designed to help persons with serious mental illness reach recovery goals and experience improvement in overall life functioning.

The skills may include coping with symptoms, managing and preventing a crisis, preventing a relapse and basic day-to-day issues such as budgeting, shopping, cooking, transportation and maintaining employment.

Mary Girtz, Susanne Holmen, Laura Kirlin and Harold "Spike" Wellman provide ARMHS treatment.

Sandee Edelman-Karl is the office manager.

And Jessica Burkhamer, MSW, LICSW, is a part-time clinician at the facility.

Greseth conducts a "generalist" practice, working with persons of all ages and diagnoses. Among her areas of interest are working with trauma survivors, women's issues, adoption, infertility and anxiety and depression.

Farrell has an interest in working with adolescents, both perpetrators and victims of violence, and those struggling to manage the consequences of mental illness in the family. She has experience treating individuals convicted of sexual offenses as well as those who've been court ordered to complete anger management treatment.

Pappas' practice consists of all populations and ages, with special interest in adolescents, couples, family therapy and groups she facilitates in collaboration with the Center for Weight Management at St. Joseph's. She was recently trained as a family mediator.

LCA's philosophy, as a mental health services provider, is "to offer services to clientele with respect, grounded in strong professional ethics and loyalty to our community."

Those services include individual diagnostic assessments, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, adult mental health rehabilitation and family mediation.

Plans call for group therapy services to be offered, including STEPPS (systematic training for emotional predictability and problem solving) for those with borderline personality disorders.

Anger management skills - working in conjunction with probation workers, the court system and social services - will be shared.

And weight management - with St. Joseph's and the school as partners - will be addressed.

The clinic will have a presence with the Healthy Park Rapids 2010 initiative, Pappas a founding member, and work with violence prevention.

Both Pappas and Greseth are trained in Critical Incident Stress Management and de-briefing.

Mediation services will also be available for parties wishing to divorce without engaging in an adversarial process. The provider will work collaboratively with local family practice attorneys.

"We will respond to community needs as they arise," Anderson said.