The Hiawatha Valley borders Wisconsin and Minnesota like a zipper. Of Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center’s six offices, three provide outpatient services to people struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. These are the Winona, La Crosse, and Caledonia offices: three towns, all part of the bluff country along the Mississippi River, are rich with Native American and European history. Incidentally, the Hiawatha Valley offices have a historic look. The Winona building resembles an old courthouse; the La Crosse office is white and ornate like an old-fashioned bank. The Caledonia office is completely white, and so bald it looks like a vacant storefront in some cowboy town. At Hiawatha Valley, the belief is that historically, co-occurring disorders have gone undetected when there is a substance abuse issue and it is their belief that the two can be treated simultaneously to get the best results.
Potential clients can visit the Hiawatha offices for either a consultation, which comes at no cost, or for a diagnostic assessment for an added fee. A consultation is not in-depth, but gives the potential client the opportunity to talk about what he or she has been grappling with to see if outpatient treatment would be appropriate. After a more thorough diagnostic assessment with a counselor, clients receive feedback about their psychological state and overall well-being. At this point his counselor begins to make a recovery plan. For many, this means psychiatric services and maybe medication.
Some substance abuse clients come to group therapy twice a week while others come only once a week or once a month; this depends on what type of diagnosis someone is dealing with and where they’re at in the treatment cycle. Typically, clients start with more groups before scaling down. Throughout treatment, clients meet with their individual therapists for one-on-one sessions. At the Winona office, there are seven therapists on staff and two psychologists. Because Hiawatha runs groups for clientele with a range of mental health issues, not all groups are for alcohol and drug addicts in recovery. Substance abuse groups at the Winona office meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 and 4 pm. At the La Crosse office, groups meet on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 am and noon. The Caledonia office groups meet only on Tuesdays.
Hiawatha Valley services extend beyond singular groups and appointments. Hiawatha has a 24-hour counseling hotline available to clients and to anyone struggling with their mental health. For adolescents, Hiawatha Valley offers in-school services in 15 schools and three different counties. The school therapist is on-site, and appointments aren’t necessary if clients want to just come in and talk. The services include consultations about addiction issues, mental health issues and issues around relationships, grief and co-dependency.
The Peer Support Network (PSN) is a community center in downtown Winona for people with mental health issues to socialize and support one another; for those substance abuse clients with co-occurring disorders, this is another resource. It’s a place to hang out outside of treatment, but still structured: there are evening and weekend support groups offered and a Certified Peer Support Specialist and volunteers are available on-site to help coordinate services and activities.
Addiction treatment is only part of the range of services Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center offers. Potential clients considering the program should take advantage of the free consultation to see if the Hiawatha brand of recovery is for them. As far as outpatient programs go, this one is relatively unstructured: no required number of 12-step meetings to attend nor required weekly check-in, and a few groups a week at the most. But for those with co-occurring disorders, Hiawatha Valley has ample resources for both treating the mental health issue and creating a recovery community of peers. Families considering the program for an adolescent should watch the YouTube video Hiawatha Valley made, however, to learn how instrumental the program could be, particularly in a school context.
Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center
166 Main St
Winona, MN 55987
Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center Cost: Sliding scale. Reach Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center by phone at (507) 454-4341 or by email at [email protected]. Find Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
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Photo courtesy of Kirs10 at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)