New behavioral health center fills service need across region

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Crossing Rivers Health Center for Behavioral Health staff currently includes (from left) Dr. Nicky Mabb, board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; Ricki Bouska, national board certified counselor; and Darlene Meiners, child, adolescent and family counselor. Meiners also shares her time with Prairie du Chien public schools. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

For three months now, the new Crossing Rivers Health Center for Behavioral Health has provided services for adults, children and adolescents with mental or behavioral health concerns. It was an area that communities identified as a service needed to improve community health. The center, which opened Nov. 2, is located at 705 S. Buchanan St., Prairie du Chien, in the former CARE office. Staff is ready to help individuals achieve mental well-being and encounter everyday challenges with confidence and satisfaction.

A $600,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration was awarded to Crossing Rivers to increase access for such a need in the region, according to Dr. Steven Bush, CRH chief medical officer.

The newly-remodeled facility housing the Center for Behavioral Health ensures a safe, confidential setting to provide treatment. Comfortable furnishings and a calming atmosphere offer a nice place for understanding, healing and hope.

“When people come to the center, they will immediately find it to be very relaxed, safe and secure. They will feel like they’re well taken care of,” described Dr. Nicky Mabb, board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. “We’re definitely professional, non-judgmental and accepting of everyone, and we take the confidential element really seriously.”

In addition to Mabb, staff includes Ricki Bouska, national board certified counselor, and Darlene Meiners, child, adolescent and family counselor. Crossing Rivers is also recruiting for a psychiatrist and another advanced practice nurse practitioner to join the other three, who proudly focus their services on creating individualized treatment plans tailored to each patient.

The center can evaluate and treat the following: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders; depressive disorders; mood disorders such as bipolar I and II; anxiety disorders; adjustment related, trauma and stressor-induced disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); personality disorders; life transition difficulties; grief and loss; and psychosis.

Treatment includes medication management as well as individual, group, couple and family therapy. The staff’s approaches might involve cognitive behavioral therapy; person-centered, insight-oriented therapy; artistic and play therapy, etc.

Prior to the establishment of this new center, Bush said there were no providers in the Prairie du Chien area who were available every weekday specializing in the evaluation and treatment of personality disorders. Now, not only are they in Prairie du Chien, but they also have extended telebehavioral health services to Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster, and soon to Richland County.

“It really does take special training to treat people the different ways they need, whether it’s children or adults,” Mabb explained. “We’re excited about this opportunity.”

For the first time this year, the Prairie du Chien School District and Crossing Rivers Health, are sharing time and services offered by counselor Darlene Meiners, which is thus far perceived to be a positive change for both entities. Through this relationship, Meiners helps take care of behavioral health district wide.  

“One of the main things with mental illness is that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The longer we’re in the business, the more people we know who struggle with it,” Mabb noted, adding that opinions vary regarding the higher rates of diagnosis in today’s society. “I think diagnosing has become more fluent and, in general, mental illness is becoming less stigmatized.”

It can be managed with medicine and therapy. The first step to getting care is usually talking to a primary care physician at any health care facility, who may refer a patient to the Center for Behavioral Health.
Otherwise, individuals may call the center at 357-2700 to inquire about care.

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