Agency targets mental health

Program helps patients handle problems

Editor's note: The name of the woman who shared her story of mental health problems has been changed because of the stigma associated with such disorders.

Millie has suffered from depression and anxiety nearly all her life. She's taken medication for many years due to a chemical imbalance that causes these disorders, and expects to be taking medication the rest of her life.

And though the pills have helped stabilize her feelings, counseling at Craig Mental Health is what truly has changed her life.

"They've helped me to think differently," Millie said. "I've also learned that you feel the way you think."

She's been seeing a counselor at CMH for four years but said she recently has been exceptionally anxious because she has two family members in the military who are deployed overseas.

"I felt guilty the whole time they were over there if I laughed or anything," she said. "One of the things I've learned was to think about today. If you try to think about the future or the past, you're ruining today.

"I know it in my mind, but it's hard to get it in your heart."

Program Director Gina Golden has made it her mission to help her clients use the skills they learn at the agency in their lives.

At any given time, Golden said the agency has about 300 clients, who are dealing with everything from marital discord to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

"We see the full spectrum of mental health disorders," she said.

The private nonprofit agency, which has been open since the 1970s, employs six clinicians, including Golden, and three business staff members.

Clients are charged on a sliding fee scale based on income. The agency also receives monies from insurance companies and some from the state. Local agencies such as the Moffat County United Way also contribute to CMH.

"Their money specifically helps fund services for treatment of indigent clients," Golden said. "They've made it possible so that (clients) are not out in the community struggling."

Golden said she hopes anyone who is suffering will seek professional assistance.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of," she said. "One in five people has a mental health issue. Don't be afraid to get help."

Craig Mental Health, 439 Breeze St., Suite 200, may be reached at 824-6541.

United Way is currently holding its annual fund-raising campaign.

This year's goal is $320,000 and the campaign runs through Nov. 19.

Tax deductible contributions may be made by contacting the agency at 824-6222.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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