Mental health services provided in Albert Lea

Published 9:07 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

Gerard Community Mental Health Services has opened an office in downtown Albert Lea.

According to a press release, encouragement from multiple referral sources prompted Gerard Community Mental Health Services to pursue the idea of opening an office in Albert Lea. The organization started accepting appointments  July 1.

“The response from the Albert Lea community has been very positive,” said Dr. Julie Peters, outpatient services director for Gerard Community Mental Health Services.

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“There are many individuals and families in the Albert Lea community that are in need of mental health services, with a shortage of providers,” she said. “We are very excited to share our expertise in mental health to help fill that void and provide quality mental health services to the Albert Lea Community.”

Since 1969, Gerard Academy has been serving children and families at its residential treatment facility in Austin. In 2015, Gerard opened an outpatient program in response to the growing need for mental health services in the Austin community. The program started out with one therapist. As the need for outpatient services grew, therapists continued to be added. The program currently has four full-time therapists, one part-time therapist and two interns, with a plan of continuing to add more therapists to meet the mental health needs of the Austin and Albert Lea communities and surrounding areas, the release stated.

Gerard Community Mental Health Services offers a variety of services, including diagnostic assessments, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, couples therapy, play therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and psychological testing and assessments.

Therapists Cynthia Hernandez and Ashley Schoonover see clients Wednesdays and Fridays in the Albert Lea office by appointment only, with the intention of expanding the hours as the need arises. The office is at 137 N. Broadway Ave. in Albert Lea. An appointment can be made by calling 507-434-4366.