Mental + Physical Health, Better Together: Lower Arkansas Valley Therapist Heals the Whole Person

Patients with physical or mental health concerns can face many obstacles to good health. Barriers can be financial or access, particularly in the many medically underserved areas of our state. But there’s another barrier that may be less understood: the need for integrated “whole person” care.  One organization that understands the many factors that influence client health is the Lower Arkansas Valley’s Southeast Health Group.   

We spoke with Jennifer Madrid, Adult Mental Health Therapist, based in the organization’s La Junta office. Jennifer shared that she started as a case manager, a role that gave her a unique ability to understand the many ways to support her clients outside of therapy. Jennifer and her co-worker, Kristin Bickel, explain their approach. “We hire teams of people to do ‘wrap-around’ services, such as nutrition, mental health, pain management, writing prescriptions, peer counseling, and case management.”  This variety of services can stabilize an individual and provides options specific to their personal needs and goals. 

We asked Jennifer to tell us more about the services available from peer specialists. Peer specialists are people who have experienced mental illness and recovery, providing support and encouragement to others going through the same. Jennifer noted that peer specialists’ services have been especially useful during the pandemic, helping reduce clients’ feelings of isolation.    “Peer specialists are a great option to keep our clients supported on a regular basis, so they get well-rounded and consistent support whenever they need it,” she said. In fact, in a recent article, Dr. Hilary Jacobs Hendel noted, “there is a lot of value in sharing with people who have overcome similar mental health challenges…peer support builds confidence and hope for healing.”  

Jennifer shared some particularly uplifting moments for clients during the pandemic, noting that some experienced breakthroughs during her group therapy sessions. “Some clients just don’t see how life will get any better, so when they start to open up to the possibilities these are very uplifting moments,” she said. Clients saw their peers in the group make progress and this gave them the freedom to pursue possibilities for themselves.  Read more about the mental health programs and services at Southeast Health Group. 

Jennifer and Kristin also address the barrier of technology, providing devices to clients in assisted living facilities. She also noted the clinic has a sliding-scale of fees, offers several locations in surrounding counties, and that all patients are offered an intake appointment within seven business days. Learn more about how to connect with the Southeast Health Group.