To address the lack of immediate mental health counseling options in the Twin Cities, Birch Counseling has opened a dedicated same-day, walk-in clinic at 904 Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins.
“What we are offering is akin to urgent care for mental health,” explains Christa Surerus, licensed professional clinical counselor.
She and her husband, James Mallon, also a licensed mental health counselor, operate three other Birch Counseling locations with an office in Golden Valley and two offices in Minneapolis.
However, they wanted to provide greater flexibility and accessibility for those in crisis.
“Currently, it takes about three weeks to get into Golden Valley, and that’s very common with just about any counseling service,” Surerus said
“Up until now, if someone was experiencing a mental health crisis, that person would have to choose between scheduling an appointment for a later date, which could be days or weeks away, or going to an emergency room, which is really meant for life-threatening situations,” she said. “We are filling in that gap for when those unexpected issues in life become too much.”
They have seen that the demand for care, having witnessed people walking through closed-door sessions in order to be seen, and decided they needed to do something about it by making mental health care more readily available.
With 12 offices, people can walk in and expect to be seen that same day.
“There are so many people who are dealing with these sorts of traumatic situations that can come up very suddenly,” Mallon said. “We are here for them today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today.”
The most important reason they opened the walk-in clinic is to help combat the rising number of suicides in Minnesota.
“As you may know, suicide rates around the country have been going up, and Minnesota is one of the top gainers,” Surerus said.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the suicide rate has increased 53 percent from 1999-2017.
Surerus also noted that 85% of males who die by suicide have no known mental health condition, “which means they never sought professional help,” she said. Completed suicides by females are also on the rise, she said.
“It is our goal to offer a safe place for individuals, families and couples to get the support they need by helping them calm and stabilize sufficiently to problem solve life challenges,” she said.
Birch Counseling also has the capacity to grow and expand its hours.
Currently, they are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with hopes of offering evening and weekends hours in the fall.
They accept all major insurance, medical assistance and out-of-pocket payments.
To make an appointment, call 952-562-4116 or visit birchcounselingwalk-in.com.
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