By Eleanor Sevigny
Published September 30, 2021 in The Burg
September is National Suicide Awareness month as well as National Recovery month. As a month that’s focus is on mental health awareness, it was fitting to interview Bridgeway. Bridgeway offers individual counseling, family counseling, community support services, medication monitoring, psychiatric services, mobile crisis unit, group therapy, substance abuse services, intensive outpatient treatment, women’s services, adolescent services, insight program, relapse prevention services, co-occurring services, and developmental disability services.
Stacy Brown, the Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Bridgeway. Brown has been at Bridgeway for five years. She has a Bachelors in Psychology from Monmouth College and a Masters in Counseling from Bradley University. Brown is a licensed counselor in Illinois and Florida. She was able to take the time to answer a few questions about Bridgeway.
Question: Is Bridgeway doing anything for Suicide Awareness month and National Recovery month?
Brown: We are letting Out of the Darkness lead the way this year for Suicide Awareness month. We fully support Out of the Darkness. A couple years ago we sponsored a documentary at The Orpheum called Suicide The Ripple Effect with a minimual entrance fee. The proceeds from that event we gave to Out of the Darkness. For Recovery Awareness month we hosted a candlelight vigil in the Square on August 31. Mayor Peter Schwartzman and others who attended this event lit candles in memory of those we have lost to addiction.
Question: Has Bridgeway seen an increase in patients since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Brown: We have seen an increase in need from those who normally wouldn’t get help and people who have the coping skills, but with the lack of socialization and added stress of a pandemic needed more support. We also saw an increase in people who prolonged getting help till it manifested into a crisis because they were scared to go out.
Question: What changes did Bridgeway make to combat the COVID-19 pandemic?
Brown: We never stopped offering our services or closed down. Instead we started offering more telehealth services. As people’s comfort levels change we have adjusted our services accordingly. We are still providing telehealth services, but are currently seeing more people wanting to return to in-person services. We also postponed our annual mental health wellness summit with Carl Sandburg College to Friday, September 23, 2022 to keep attendees safe.
Question: What is the best thing someone can do to improve their mental health?
Brown: Reach out for help. Taking that first step is the best thing you can do for your mental health. It does not have to be a healthcare professional. That first step can be a friend, family member, etc…
Question: As the weather turns colder and seasonal depression starts up do you have any tips for people who suffer from seasonal depression?
Brown: Determine what helps you. For some people its those UV lamps on their desk. For others it is time outside. If you find yourself in a dark place, reach out for help.
Question: Would you like to say anything to the Galesburg community?
Brown: We’re here for when you need us. Help us reduce the stigma that needing or getting help is a bad thing. Recovery is possible! We’re ready for when you’re ready to take that first step.
If you or a loved one are ready to take that first step, contact Bridgeway at 344-2323.