Local Returns to Help Others

MINSTER — With the economy down the last few years, some people might say psychologist Laura Monnier-Roetgerman was crazy to move back from Chicago to risk jump-starting her own business.

But the economy, joblessness and stress in general are exactly why the services of a Center for Personal Wellness, now open on Fourth Street in Minster, are needed, she said.

“Times have changed so much,” she said. “With the economy and unemployment, people are struggling to balance their life, workload and kids. A lot of people are depressed or anxious.”

Another reason to move back from Minster, besides pursuing the dream of opening her own facility, was to address what she feels is a stigma about mental health especially in rural areas.

“There’s a real need for services here, and I decided to go for it,” she said.

The center has two mental health professionals currently, Barry Jennings, MSW, and Carla Batdorf, a professional counselor.

Now is also a great time to start, she said, because changes in the health care laws have allowed most people to receive some kind of mental health benefits through their insurance, which means her office will accept many major insurance providers, like Aetna, Medicare, Anthem and others.

People feel, she said, that seeing a person for help is something someone only does if they’re in a real crisis.

She wants to let people know that anyone can learn something from a mental health professional.

If a person is on medication, therapy could address the cause of anxiety, and could stop a person from having to take medication their whole life.

Also, a therapist can teach coping skills or can tell a person if what they’re experiencing is normal.

“Sometimes people live with depression their entire lives,” Monnier-Roetgerman said. “They don’t know until someone says something.”

While talking to family and friends is necessary and beneficial, one difficulty is that they aren’t unbiased.

Also, they can’t always see everything that’s going on. It can be easier to listen to a person who is empathic, non-judgemental, and whose only priority is to advocate for your health.

She wants the facility to be modern in its communication, allowing clients to schedule appointments online at the website, but very private in its practice.

One reason she likes the location, she said, is the parking behind the building can make people comfortable walking in. Businesses nearby, like the bank, aren’t as high traffic as a retail shop would be.

The facility offers individual, group, couples and family therapy, she said.

A two-hour workshop April 15 will address stress, how to cope and relaxation. A grief support group, free to attend, begins April 16 and continues for 10 weeks.

Eventually, once her dog is certified in the practice, Monnier-Roetgerman will offer animal assisted therapy, which she thinks will set her apart from most counselors or specialists in the area.

“What does it hurt — if you’re wondering if maybe you could benefit from therapy, you probably could,” Monnier-Roetgerman said.