In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Gateway Services in Princeton, through its Open Doors Community Counseling program, looks to bring awareness to the services and support it provides.
Open Doors has a goal to eliminate the stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and related disorders.
People with mental illnesses can face a “double challenge,” where they may struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from their illness while being challenged by possible stereotypes and prejudice that can result from misconceptions about mental illness.
As a result, people can be robbed of opportunities that define a quality life including jobs, safe housing, health care and affiliation with a diverse group of people.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 22.8% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2021. 16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder and 7.6% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness.
NAMI lists anxiety disorders and major depressive episodes as the highest annual prevalence among U.S. adults, at 19.1% and 8.3% respectively. Other conditions include post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
Rural Americans also can experience unique barriers to managing their mental health, as access to treatment can be limited.
Compared to suburban and urban residents, rural Americans typically must travel two times as far to their nearest hospital and are twice as likely to lack broadband internet which gives them limited access to telehealth. More than 25 million rural Americans live in a mental health professional shortage area where there can be too few providers to meet the demand.
Counselors at Open Doors pride themselves on offering individual and group therapy in a safe, confidential and comfortable environment.
Sydney Hall is a Licensed Professional Counselor who utilizes expressive art therapy techniques. She encourages clients to use multiple forms of creative expression to articulate their inner world, including drawing and painting as well as using a range of music, drama, role-play, poetry, dance and other movement.
Shirley Morse-Woolley is a licensed clinical professional counselor. She has experience in many areas including domestic violence, intellectual/developmental disabilities and the spectrum of mental illness with both children and adults.
Petrita Salazar is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a certified anger management specialist. She has worked with people with eating disorders and those who need therapy with parole or probation and she has a wide range of experience with children and adults.
Services at Open Doors are available to anyone age 5 or older with Medicaid living in Bureau, Marshall, or Putnam counties. Consideration for surrounding counties is given and is dependent on counselor availability.
Services may include mental health assessment, treatment plan development, therapy/counseling, intervention, consultation services, and transition linkage and aftercare. Additional services offered include anger management, telemental health, and recovery support.
For more information, visit www.gateway-services.org or call 815-875-4548 ex. 273 to schedule an appointment. Open Doors Community Counseling is located at 535 Elm Place in Princeton, with a second location at 511 School St. in Henry.