Mental Health

Extensive Mental Health Resources in Southeast Iowa

Great River Health System-Mental Health provides evaluations, counseling, therapy, psychiatry and psychological testing for patients with mental illness, significant emotional disorders and addictions. Everyone who receives our services will be treated with respect and dignity and will be a partner in achieving recovery.

We are committed to services that:

  • Demonstrate the value of family inclusion and the benefits of a strong support system
  • Focus on a person's strengths in his or her culture
  • Foster independence and recovery
  • Honor a person’s rights, wishes, and needs
  • Promote a person's quality of life

To serve each patient's needs, our clinic requires a referral from a health care provider and patients' medical records. After records are received, the patient scheduler will contact patients to make an appointment.

Our clinical staff includes: ‚Äč

  • Ashley Coffey, LISW - Therapist
  • Audrey Cook, M.S., LMHC - Therapist
  • Michael Davis, LISW - Therapist
  • Rob Willbee, LBSW, LMHC - Therapist
  • Elisa Powell, M.A., LMHC - Therapist
  • Jim Towlerton, SAP - Substance-abuse Counselor
  • Anna Short, CADC

Common Mental Health Disorders

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. Feeling anxious about a test, or problems at home or work is common. But an anxiety disorder is more than a case of nerves. Anxiety disorders cause such distress that they interfere with people's ability to lead normal lives. Talking to a mental health professional is the first step in treating anxiety disorders.

Common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorders cause constant worry that can disrupt your life.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders cause unwanted thoughts. You also may perform certain actions repeatedly.
  • Panic disorders cause an intense fear of being in danger.
  • Phobias are extreme fears of certain objects, places or events.

Anxiety disorders cause intense feelings of panic and fear. They can appear unexpectedly and for no reason. When anxiety moves beyond an occasional wave of apprehension to a constant and dominating force in your life, you need to take steps to curb your anxiety. As a result, you may avoid anything that triggers your fear.

What causes anxiety disorders?

These are believed to have an effect:

  • Brain chemistry
  • Experiences
  • Heredity
  • Personality

There is evidence that anxiety disorders run in families. Studies suggest that a genetic factor, possibly activated by experiences, make some people more likely to have them. Because symptoms of anxiety disorders often are relieved by medicines that alter levels of brain chemicals, scientists believe brain chemistry affects the onset of anxiety disorders.

People who have low self-esteem and poor coping skills may be more prone to anxiety. Conversely, an anxiety disorder that begins in childhood may contribute to developing low self-esteem. Another factor includes the relation between anxiety disorders and long-term exposure to abuse, violence or poverty.

Treating Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders respond well (and often quickly) to treatment. The treatment approach depends on the anxiety disorder and its severity. In general, most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioral therapy, medicine or a combination. Remember: Having an anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed of.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by dramatic swings in mood, from mania (periods of great excitement, delusions & over activity) to depression. If not treated, it can lead to risky behavior, damaged relations & careers, & suicidal tendencies. Bipolar disorder is more common in older teenagers and young adults, although it can affect children as young as 6.

A bipolar-disorder diagnosis can only be made by taking careful note of symptoms, including their duration, frequency and intensity. The primary symptoms are pronounced, unpredictable mood swings.

There are different types of bipolar disorders. Among the most common are mania and depression symptoms.

Mania symptoms include:

  • Excitement
  • Excessive happiness
  • High sex drive
  • Increased energy
  • Irritability
  • Lack of sleep (lack of fatigue)
  • Making far-fetched plans
  • Racing thoughts
  • Restlessness

Depression symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Change in appetite (and weight gain or loss)
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • Sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Treatment

Treatment usually is a combination of a mood-stabilizing drug and psychotherapy. Although drug treatment is primary, psychotherapy is important to help patients better cope with the condition.

Understanding Depression

Feelings of sadness, loneliness or hopelessness are natural. They come and go. But if unhappy periods are intense or last for more than a couple weeks, it could be a sign of depression. Clinical depression is a serious health problem. It can change behavior, physical health, appearance, academic performance and the ability to handle everyday decisions and pressures.

People with depression may:

  • Be uninterested in friends and activities they previously enjoyed
  • Feel helpless, hopeless or worthless
  • Feel sluggish or lack energy
  • Feel unhappy, sad, blue, down or miserable regularly
  • Find it difficult to concentrate
  • Gain or lose weight
  • Have physical symptoms like stomachaches, headaches or backaches
  • Have trouble sleeping or sleep too much

Understanding Panic Disorders

Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults. It is twice as common in women than in men. Panic attacks often being in late adolescence or early adulthood, but not everyone who has panic attacks will develop panic disorder. During attacks, people with panic disorder may feel a strong need to escape from wherever they are. Some people may find it difficult to leave home, as well.

Most panic attacks start suddenly and for no clear reason. They can last from five to 20 minutes. Symptoms include:

  • Fear of impending doom
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Feeling flushed or chilled
  • Nausea
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Sense of unreality
  • Smothering sensation
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness in hands
  • Weakness

Overcoming Fear

Fear of a panic attack can be overwhelming, but people can overcome them. Ask a health care provider for help and remember these tips:

  • Separate the attack from the situation. Places and activities don't cause attacks, so don't avoid situations.
  • Using alcohol or unprescribed drugs to escape fears only will increase problems