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Mental Health Care

In order to live one’s life to the fullest, you have to maintain mind, body and spirit. It is like a three-legged stool that will fall over if you neglect one leg or portion of your being.

Naperville is fortunate to have a number of practitioners, clinical practices and facilities that assist its residents with maintenance of their minds and spirits, improving the overall wellness of the community as a consequence.

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health is a 108-bed psychiatric hospital with five outpatient locations that is part of Edward-Elmhurst Health. Opened in 1989 as an independent facility, it was purchased by Edward Hospital in 1999 and became part of the larger network when Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital partnered in 2013. Linden Oaks employs more than 500 staff, including 25 psychiatrists and 15 advanced practice clinicians.

Linden Oaks is best known for its inpatient work with adolescents, adults and geriatrics suffering from depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, self-injury issues and major mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder.

Linden Oaks also has six outpatient locations in Naperville, Plainfield, Hinsdale, St. Charles and Woodridge, according to Gina Sharp, President. Linden Oaks is accredited by the Joint Commission with Gold Seals of Approval for Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, BiPolar, Chemical Dependency, Self-Injury and Dementia.

Clients at the outpatient centers receive medicine management, counseling and may also participate in day programs that last between three and six hours to deal with the same types of issues that are dealt with on a short-term “crisis” basis at the hospital.

“Many with these issues need structure in their day in order to help them make good decisions and stay safe,” Sharp said. “We teach them life skills and mindfulness and ways to manage different situations. Our staff uses a variety of behavioral treatment strategies to help them be successful when they are on their own. Our mission is to provide behavioral healthcare with compassion, dignity and excellence.”

Linden Oaks regularly works with and receives referrals from schools, faith-based organizations, other therapy groups and other community organizations including the police. Linden Oaks has a speakers bureau which reaches out to schools, park districts and other community organizations with informative programs, and it offers professional seminars for local physicians and therapists.

Linden Oaks has also trained more than 7,000 teachers, members of the clergy and others on Mental Health First Aid which teaches individuals how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.

Free assessments of individuals are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a walk-in basis.

Edgewood Clinical Services

Founded in 2004, Edgewood Clinical Services is a full-service mental health counseling organization that provides the full gamut of outpatient psychological services to children and teens, as well as individual adults and married couples who are having difficulties. They are staffed by psychologists, social workers and counselors, as well as psychiatrists for medication management.

“Children and families are our primary clients. Half of our patients are under the age of 20 and another 40 percent are between the ages of 21 and 55. We definitely focus on the issues of younger people,” said Adam Russo, founder/chairman/CEO of Edgewood Clinical Services.

“We do a lot of counseling of children and adults experiencing anxiety and depression, trying to learn whether the symptoms are neurologically based or caused by events in their lives like divorce or problems at school. We also do anger management and behavioral counseling and test for issues like ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity) and non-verbal learning disabilities,” Russo said.

“With younger children, for instance, we can intervene (with the help of their parents) through play or art therapy and can then work with the parents to give them insights and behavior strategies that will lead to better outcomes,” he said.

On the other hand, with teens and adults who appear to have a substance abuse issue, Russo and his team work to determine if the substance abuse is dominant or if there are anxiety and depression issues for which the client is self-medicating with drugs. Depending upon the determination, they will then refer to local substance abuse programs like Linden Oaks Hospital, Northwestern Medicine, Rosecrance and Gateway. After someone completes their rehabilitation, however, they can return to Edgewood for after-care programming and supplemental counseling.

When families are fighting, the 35 clinicians at Edgewood can help with family counseling and if the family conflicts are the result of unresolved trauma in the life of one or both of the parents, they can offer individual counseling to the affected parent, along with the family counseling.

In addition, marriage counseling is offered when couples experience disagreements over parenting styles, infidelity, substance abuse or gambling.

“Our counseling load grew quite a bit during the recession but even now, after the recession is supposedly over, we have clients who are having trouble staying motivated. They are running out of gas because they feel that they are working hard at their job, but the benefits are less evident. They are exhausted, and we are working with them to re-energize them,” Russo said.

Of Edgewood’s nearly 4,000 active clients, Russo said only a handful have a major mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Their clients are split between significant anxiety or depressive disorders and clients who experience environmentally-based issues in which the symptoms will disappear once their stress disappears.

Edgewood Clinical Services is very active in the Naperville community, offering a free speakers bureau on a variety of psychological and behavioral issues to parent groups and to virtually any organization that requests such a talk.

Fox Valley Institute

The Fox Valley Institute (FVI) is a leading provider of counseling and psychiatry services with a strong reputation for community education and innovative behavioral health therapies.

FVI was founded in 2001 by Dr. Laura Bokar, a doctor of education, and a licensed marriage and family therapist. As her passion for helping individuals understand and conquer life’s challenges grew, so did the company. FVI has a team of 18 highly qualified, professional individuals offering psychiatry and individual, children, adolescent, marriage, family and group counseling services for patients, ages 2 to 92 to manage the pressures and changes in their lives.

“Our simple and straightforward approach is empathic, nonjudgmental and interpersonal, focused around the individual,” Dr. Bokar said. “Our mission is to help our clients understand themselves and the roots of their problems, to identify and change negative behaviors and patterns, and to develop more effective strategies for coping. Nobody should face their challenges alone.”

Services offered are individual, children, adolescent, marriage, couples, pre-marital, group and family counseling, along with assessments, play therapy, psychiatry and psychological testing. Specializations include: General Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Depression, Addictions, Life Transactions, Grief and Loss, Divorce, Bullying to Eating Disorders, Panic Disorders, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), PTSD, Trauma and Bipolar Disorder, among many others.

Clients are encouraged to work at their own pace and on their own terms. A client explained how FVI provided support during a major life challenge, “A great therapist not only has the education and experience necessary to do the job, but they also have a gift for it.”

FVI is also known for being an innovative, state-of-the-art behavioral health provider. “Our team continually enhances their education to learn about and offer care utilizing the best and latest available solutions. This innovative commitment allows us to tailor to our clients’ specific needs,” Dr. Bokar said.

Telepsychiatry is an innovative new service that provides easy access to licensed child and adult psychiatrists using video conferencing. Appointments are conducted at the Institute’s offices in Naperville over a secure HIPPA compliant network. The use of video technology is the way psychiatrists are now conducting sessions, to promptly and efficiently meet the needs of patients.

The Institute is also the first in Illinois to offer cutting-edge virtual reality therapy. This three-dimensional experience is used to gradually desensitize phobia sufferers to the things or situations that frighten them. Ten different phobias can currently be treated, including claustrophobia and fear of spiders, flying, heights, driving and animals. Virtual reality combined with traditional therapy has been proven to help clients quickly overcome their phobias.

When asked for what she considers the most helpful advice she can provide to someone, Dr. Bokar said, “It is all about focus. Live to your greatest potential by focusing on achieving fulfillment through connection, growth and contribution.”

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