Got The Blues? Stressed Out? Depressed? Counseling Available At Guidance Center



Penny Navis-Schmidt

Dealing with feelings of despair or a serious mental illness are things no one should deal with alone, and depression is a common ailment that most people face at least once in their life.

Maybe the downturn in the economy has given you the blues, or you just lost your job or spouse. If you’re looking for a place to go, there are several treatment options available to Rim Country residents, including Rim Guidance Center and five counseling offices in Payson.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nationwide, in any given year, 19 million American adults suffer from depression. Many others who may be afraid to ask for help continue to deal with it alone.

The youth, the elderly and minorities are particularly vulnerable to isolation, depression and suicide.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says 7 million of the nation’s senior citizens have some form of depression, while another 6.3 million commit suicide.

In addition, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, reported the NIH. In 2004, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a study of adolescent-psychological trends: 3.5 million youths between 12 and 17 suffer from depression, and 712,000 attempted suicide.

However, depression is a treatable mental illness. Medication, therapy and family support all can help someone deal with their despair.

Clinical social worker, Penny Navis-Schmidt has treated mental illnesses in Payson for the last 28 years and says everyone can benefit from therapy.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” she said. “But there is a character stigma on people with mental health issues.”

Thirty years ago when Schmidt started her practice, even fewer people came in for treatment, but with awareness of mental health increasing and access to the Internet, Schmidt said more people come in who have already diagnosed themselves and are ready for treatment.

Schmidt says she focuses her practice on solutions so most patients only need to see her for 10 sessions.

“With solution-focused psychotherapy, I only bring in the past as it relates with the problem, so we don’t bring up every childhood event,” she said.

Schmidt offers couples communication, assertiveness training, parenting, stress management, women’s empowerment, post-traumatic stress therapy in addition to individual and family counseling.

“I believe everyone has a basic right to feel good in their lives,” she said. In addition to her counseling practice, Schmidt provides medical social work services for Payson Regional Medical Center and Home Health, consults for RTA Hospice and Time Out Shelter and teaches Qigong.

Her therapy office, at 700 W. Main St., includes four other counselors. Lori Martinez treats children, families and adults; Marilyn Kieffer-Andrews is a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner; Dani Woods offers counseling and coaching; and David Rice is a licensed, professional counselor. Schmidt has room for one more psychiatrist in her office.

“Payson needs a nonclinic connected psychiatrist,” she said.

Rim Guidance, a division of Southwest Behavioral Health Services, at 404 W. Aero Drive, has been caring for the behavioral health needs of northern Gila County for more than 30 years.

The center provides both group and individual counseling to families, couples, parents, teens and children. The center also responds to emergency and routine mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse for individuals.

The center offers the Round Valley Residential home, which is designed to assist persons with serious mental illnesses recover. Round Valley Residential accepts mentally ill adults who want to improve their condition and work on life skills.

The center also maintains a 24-hour helpline, (928) 474-3303, and offers an empowerment center where Rim Guidance patients can play games and socialize with other patients. The center offers bingo, crafts, board and computer games and socializing activities. For more information about the empowerment center, call (928) 474-2668.

Signs of depression

• Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood;

• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism;

• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness;

• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex;

• Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down;”

• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions;

• Trouble sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping;

• Appetite and/or weight changes;

• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts;

• Restlessness, irritability; and

• Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment.

Ways to help yourself:

• Engage in mild activity or exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed. Participate in religious, social or other activities.

• Set realistic goals for yourself.

• Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.

• Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.

• Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to snap out of your depression suddenly. Often, during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.

• Postpone important decisions, such as getting married, divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.

• Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Counseling Services in Payson

Christine Tetzloff: 814 N. Beeline Highway, (928) 474-8323

Horizon Human Services: 600 E. Highway 260, Ste. 8, (928) 474-4917

Penny Navis-Schmidt: 700 W. Main St., (928) 474-8628

Donna Steckal: 616 S. Beeline Highway, (928) 474-4452

Lee A Woods: 700 N. Granite Drive, Ste. 1, (928) 474-8298

Rim Guidance Center: 404 W. Aero Drive, (928) 474-3303


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