The Cottage In Park Rapids Provides Mental Health Help To Community
When was the last time you checked on your mental health? There’s a place in Park Rapids that is making it a priority to help those with mental illness.
“The goal of The Cottage is to really create a space that people are comfortable, where people are welcome and people are safe,” says Shawn Anderson, the owner of Lake Country Associates.
“If they’re having a particular problem, there’s counselors here that you can, you know, if you need to talk to somebody right now, they’re here,” says MorningStar Bellcourt, who comes to The Cottage regularly.
The Cottage was established last April and is run by Lake Country Associates. People with mental illnesses can literally just drop by and participate in an activity or just hang out. People who come regularly even plan some of the activities themselves.
“I do clay, arts and crafts. Sometimes we’ll have the cooking sessions,” says Kyle Bethel, who also comes to The Cottage.
“It’s given me the confidence to chair the garage sale and plan the groups,” adds Dawn Meyers, who comes to The Cottage regularly.
The staff at The Cottage do not wear names tags to make the environment more comfortable. If anyone needs to talk, there are private rooms for impromptu sessions.
“I’ve got a counselor that helps us with depression and stuff, and it’s a very nice place,” says Lorie Brown, who comes to The Cottage.
Paul Frohman is another Cottage regular. He adds, “My ARMHS worker, I think she can do just about anything. So if I’ve got a problem I can’t solve, she’s the first one, maybe the only person I need to call.”
In addition to counseling, the people who come to The Cottage get a new kind of family-like support system.
“It livens your spirits up. It makes you more happy. It makes you be able to get out and do something instead of being isolated,” says The Cottage visitor Thomas LaFley.
“Having other people who have gone through it and hearing their stories. It’s very healing and being able to tell my story,” says Kelly Hall, who also goes to The Cottage.
A few of the people who go to The Cottage regularly will be in St. Paul next week for the Mental Health Day On The Hill. While there, they will be advocating for more mental health programs in the state of Minnesota.
The Cottage is open four days a week. The hours are from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon on Mondays and Fridays, and noon to 4 in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.