Guest Column: Mental health center offers many services

Published 9:37 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

Live United by Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes


Freeborn County Mental Health Center is an outpatient mental health center located in the Department of Human Services building at 203 W. Clark St. in Albert Lea providing support and mental health services for those dealing with anxiety, depression, mood disorders, trauma, behavior problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, family conflicts, stress reactions, relationship concerns, thought disorders and other mental health challenges. Freeborn County Mental Health Center provides compassionate, caring and high-quality mental health services to residents of Freeborn County. 

Email newsletter signup

Mental health concerns are extremely common. Individuals struggling with mental health concerns are the people sitting next to us in church, the people we see at the grocery store, our neighbors and our friends. One in four people are living with a mental health challenge, and approximately 450 people worldwide are impacted by mental health concerns. Since mental health concerns can impact people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels including teachers, doctors, managers, retail sales employees, cashiers and farmers, we provide services to people of all backgrounds at Freeborn County Mental Health Center. An integrated combination of talk therapy, medication and social support can successfully treat mental health concerns.       

Freeborn county residents have access to two psychiatric providers who serve children, adolescents and adults at the mental health center. These psychiatric providers work closely with two registered nurses to assist the providers with any medication needs people may have. One of these psychiatric providers is Dr. Annette Smick, a psychiatrist, who is able to provide psychiatric evaluations and medication services for children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Smick joined the mental health center earlier this month and will be a valuable resource for county residents. Having Dr. Smick at our mental health center will provide children, adolescents and adults with the opportunity to see a psychiatrist locally without having to travel to surrounding communities to receive psychiatric care.    

There are also three individual therapists who provide individual psychotherapy at the mental health center. Our therapists utilize a positive, person-centered, strengths-based approach to help people reach their goals, overcome challenges and achieve wellness. The therapists work in close collaboration with our four adult mental health case managers who work specifically with those living with a serious and persistent mental illness and partner with people to coordinate mental health services.  Freeborn County also has two mental health case aides who run our local clubhouse. The Next Step Clubhouse offers a safe environment that provides companionship, acceptance and support for consumers of the mental health services and has a lot of programming and special activities. The mental health center also provides consultation on mental health topics to other agencies in the community and educational services to the community.

Freeborn County Mental Health Center is a provider for most health insurers including Medical Assistance, Medicare, Minnesota Care, South County Health Alliance, Humana, Blue Cross, Medica and Preferred One. It also offers a sliding fee schedule based on income and family size for residents of Freeborn County who do not have health insurance.

To make an appointment or a referral, please contact the receptionist at 507-377-5400. Freeborn County Mental Health Center is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Sara Barnes is an adult mental health case manager at Freeborn County Department of Human Services.