Counselor brings positive solutions to FFPublished 11:16am Monday, December 17, 2012
Mental illnesses can be difficult for people of all ages to manage, and one local business has spent the last year helping residents cope with things like depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Solutions opened in Fergus Falls about one year ago, and the local business offers services and programs to help residents in need of a little extra help.
Fergus Falls native and Solutions community services coordinator Lucas Voorhees moved back to his home town in 2011 to run the local business after working at Solutions headquarters in Moorhead.
“I worked in Moorhead for about a year,” he said. “They knew I was from Fergus Falls and thought it might be a good opportunity to spread to the area. They asked if I would spear head it, and I said ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s what brought me back to Fergus, and it has worked out nicely.”
Solutions works with children and adults of all ages, but the Fergus Falls office has found most of its clients are kids ranging in age from three to 17 years old.
“Our program focuses on the needs of the individuals’ mental health,” Voorhees said. “We try to get in the area where they are really struggling. If they are struggling in the home, that’s where we want to be. If they are struggling in the school, we want to be in the classroom.”
Solutions has had a great deal of success working with kids in Fergus Falls schools. Instead of pulling students out of the regular classroom for help, practitioners want to help kids work through their issues in mainstream classrooms, said Voorhees.
“We go into the mainstream classroom with the child, collaborate with the teachers and staff, and work on the specific skills they need to work on,” he said.
Solutions has been received well by the schools and the community as a whole. The business is now getting referrals daily, said Voorhees.
While Voorhees said the biggest obstacle has been starting up in a new community with Lakeland Mental Health already being so well established, both services are working toward the common goal of improving mental health throughout the area.
“Lakeland Mental Health has been great in working with us and supporting us,” he said. “We’re all on the same team. The need is there, and it’s always going to be there.”
Another goal Voorhees has for the community is to break down the stigma attached to mental illness.
“You look back 70 or 80 years ago when they would lock people up in insane asylums,” he said. “I feel like we have come a long ways, but we still have a long ways to go. Some people don’t realize that.”
Solutions in Fergus Falls employs five, and with a continually increasing number of clients, the business is likely to add two new offices and a waiting room in its location above West Tool on Tower Road.
“Eventually if business keeps flowing like it is, we might have to find a new location,” said Voorhees. “We can only expand so much up here.”