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Behavioral Health Clinic

Mental health services for social, emotional, and physical well-being

At Riverwood Healthcare Center, we integrate behavioral health and mental health services into primary care, helping you find relief for depression, anxiety, PTSD, bi-polar disorder, grief, substance abuse, and other mental, behavioral, or psychosocial challenges.

Our behavioral health team includes providers who are dual-certified in both family medicine and psychiatry and bring a combination of 30 years of experience. They provide a holistic approach—taking into consideration your symptoms, mental and physical medical history, and social environment. They work with you and your primary care provider to create a care plan that best fits your needs, which may include counseling, medication, and other therapies.

Our team also includes licensed therapists, medical assistants, and a registered nurse who have in-depth knowledge and experience treating mental illness, developmental and cognitive disorders, and substance abuse disorders.

Mental health services include:

  • Behavioral health and mental health evaluations and assessment
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Prescribing medications as needed for treatment
  • Connecting patients with available community resources and support
  • Explaining the process and the benefits of following treatment plans

Hours & Locations

Appointments are available in-person at our clinics in Aitkin, Garrison, and McGregor or via Virtual Care video. To schedule an appointment, call (218) 394-2490.

ADDRESS:
601 Bunker Hill Drive,
Aitkin, MN 56431

HOURS:
The Behavioral Health Clinic is open Monday – Friday: 8:00 am-4:30 pm or on an as-needed basis.

Our Mental Health Services Providers

Janet Larson, PhD, PMHNP, FNP-BC
Liz Thompson, PMHNP, FNP-BC

Our Therapists

Kirstiane Bilyeu, LICSW
Tim Markgraf, LICSW

Other Team Members

Our behavioral health provider team is supported by Kari Carlson, RN, patient care manager; Gina Bursch, medical assistant; Lacie Hietalati, medical assistant; and Erin Manley, patient access.

Frequently Asked Questions

Therapy is working cooperatively with a therapist to find a way(s) to deal with unhealthy or troubling behaviors, beliefs, feelings or issues. Therapy is healing, life altering, challenging, and rewarding. Therapy is not magic though at times it can feel that way. It does take hard work, dedication, honesty, letting go of old and current ways we react, behave or think, and risk opening up and being challenged. Therapy can lead to having a sense of hope, feeling empowered, and being effective in everyday life.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR, is a type of psychotherapy used for thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that bother you. When an event occurs, it seems to get locked into the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and sensations. EMDR uses eye or body movements to allow the brain to use its natural healing process. EMDR helps the brain unlock and reprocess these mixed-up feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. Allowing you to not experience negative thoughts as you had before, instead remembering what you learned from these difficult experiences. For further information, go to emdr.com or emdria.org

It’s OK to have a mental illness; many of us do. People of all age, races, genders, careers and socioeconomic backgrounds experience mental illnesses. One in four people will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. About 1 in 10 people will experience a more serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We are all an incident away from experiencing a mental illness. It’s OK to ask for help to feel better!

Bipolar disorder is a serious brain disorder that may severely disrupt a person’s life and may cause severe emotional pain and result in social difficulties. Bipolar was once referred to as “manic-depressive” disorder because It causes extreme mood swings. At times, the person may feel almost too happy, then may feel great despair. In some cases, both extremes may occur at once. More often, moods shift back and forth. These mood swings may only occur occasionally, but they can also occur more frequently. Without treatment, they will likely recur throughout life. Bipolar disorder includes manic and depressive episodes. During manic episodes of bipolar disorder, a person feels on top of the world. Even the worst news cannot bring them down. They can feel like they can do anything and may even try. One may take great risks, not thinking about getting hurt. They may participate in activities or behaviors they would not generally do. They may talk too fast and have racing thoughts. One may go for days without sleeping and be very active doing many things in a short time. Manic episodes often end in a depression. In depressive episodes, there are intense feelings of sadness and depression. It may include feelings of worthless, fatigue, and helpless. Even their most valuable items will not give them pleasure. At times they are suicidal. The exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown. But we do know that it runs in families. Over 5 million adults in this country have bipolar disorder, which most often starts in young adults, and includes both men and women in all races, cultures and income levels. There may be a time when one experiences no symptoms. But it is a chronic illness that requires lifetime care. Like heart diseases or diabetes, bipolar symptoms can return, or treatments may need to be changed. Ongoing professional support is key to effective long-term management. Much research is being done on bipolar disorder and may lead to improved treatments. (2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC, 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19069) See the mood questionnaire used to help diagnose bipolar disorder.

In the United States, depression is a common and serious mood disorder that more commonly affects adults but can also affect children. It can result in severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, handles, day-to-day activities. Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It can occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Depression is a treatable disease with medication and/or therapy. The earlier that treatment starts, the more effective it is. There are other alternative treatments to explore with your provider as well. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder includes at least five of the following symptoms for at least two consecutive weeks occurring nearly every day or one more either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure. 1. Persistent sadness, emptiness, anxiety. 2. No interest or pleasure in usual hobbies and activities. 3. Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep. 4. Significantly noticeable appetite or weight changes. 5. Slowed movements or irritation that others notice. 6. Fatigue or low energy. 7. Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions. 8. Thoughts of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt. 9. Repeated thoughts of death or hurting yourself, or a suicide attempt. 10. Aches or pains, headache, cramps, or digestive problems, that do not have a clear physical cause and/or improve, even with treatment. A screening tool is a checklist or questionnaire used by professionals such as a nurse, teacher, medical professionals in assessing symptoms, which may be related to a mental health diagnosis. Screening tools do not provide conclusive evidence of a mental health diagnosis, rather a diagnosis is provided by a licensed professional. (CDC, 2017) See Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 (PHQ9) used to help diagnose depression.

Patient Stories