Counseling services here are almost always filled with holidays

SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – The holiday season is usually when therapists, counselors and mental health providers expect an increase in the number of people seeking help. But Holly Merrick Liston with Yellow Brick Road Counseling and Therapy in Sioux Falls said that often other holiday distractions keep people from reaching out.

“What happens is people get busy with holiday shopping, parties, events and don’t always take time for themselves. That’s kind of what I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve been in practice,” said Merrick Liston. “It seems like other things take priority over your mental health. So that’s just one thing to do. be aware.”

Merrick Liston said that while the rise in awareness of people seeking mental health services began before the pandemic, it only increased the longer the impact. Now, she and many counselors and therapists have seen that demand diminish.

“For me, it’s been a little difficult, with all the appeals and trying to fit in with everyone. I know there are waiting lists and things like that. But I think it’s kind of evened out now. Merrick Liston said.

This is an ongoing issue for health organizations and governments throughout South Dakota. In her 2022 budget message Tuesday, Gov. Christie Noem called for more resources to be allocated to existing and new mental health centers and services.

“Too often, when someone is in a mental health crisis, they just end up in jail or in the emergency room. It’s not like we’re getting them the help they need. And that is not a responsible use of taxpayer dollars. These facilities help these people get care as quickly as possible. And it hits closer to home.

We have built these facilities in communities across the state. Two years ago, you provided funding for facilities in Pennington County and Watertown. Last year, you allocated an additional $15 million to expand these regional facilities across the country.

You built the buildings – now we need to finance the operations. My budget provides $5.6 million in ongoing funding to these regional facilities to help these individuals more quickly. This will not only provide better care, but it will be more efficient and cost-effective than what we are doing today.”

Merrick Liston said many people still don’t know how to address their mental health issues and don’t know where to start. She said thanks to the efforts of health organizations and other government resources, there are a wide range of resources available to those seeking help. He said if people need help, they should be broad in their search and look for every option out there, not just a traditional counseling session.

“In the referral process, sometimes people don’t understand how to find a therapist. So it’s one of those things where it’s just going online, looking for counseling and treatment. Merrick Liston said.

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