Waitlist growing for mental healthcare in Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) – Scheduling an appointment can be frustrating when there are no time slots available. Even worse, when you need urgent help. It’s becoming a problem for PrairieCare, a psychiatric care facility in Rochester.

Dr. Christopher Wall, the Vice President at PrairieCare says more people are looking for mental healthcare now that we are essentially back to normal following the pandemic. With people more stressed and struggling over multiple factors like inflation, they are more willing to reach out.

Right now, PrairieCare offers different programs and therapy for both kids and adults. The waitlist for kids is actually longer than it is for adults.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough providers to really meet the demand,” Dr. Wall explained.

“The other thing I would say, there’s a trend where our summers used to have a bit of a slowdown. Kids were out, they were playing, and they had activities. Unfortunately, we noticed during the summers that this isn’t really happening. There’s not really a slowdown anymore.”

To get just a normal appointment with a therapist at PrairieCare, there is about a two-week wait. You can also call for a short assessment to help you decide what the next best step for you is.

Working with the Minnesota Department of Health and other organizations, PrairieCare is a part of Minnesota’s first Mental Health Collaboration Hub. A free online resource that allows hospitals to put in patient information to help match them to treatment options.

For people in Southeast Minnesota, there is also NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Southeast Minnesota. To be clear, it does not offer therapists. But, it offers resources and support groups. Allowing you to find more long-term care if you need it.

“As peer supporters, we meet them where they’re at. We’re not fixers,” said Jenn Becker, Program Director at NAMI of Southeast Minnesota.

“We’re not mental health professionals. We just walk alongside them and offer that support. Validating their experience.”

If you are in crisis, please call 911. You can also call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.