Blair shows success in accessing mental health services

BLAIR, Neb. (WOWT) – Getting mental health services to people who live in small towns has been an ongoing struggle.

“It’s hard to bring people to rural areas if you don’t live in the country, people from the city tend to not want to move to a small city to offer those services and Blair was needing that terribly…not just Blair but the extended community and everyone around us,” said Sue Miller, Clinic Director.

Noticing that need Pastor Andrew Anderson with Reach Church in Blair created the Upper Room Counseling Center. He got the idea to create it after talks with several people about their personal lives.

“At the level, the kind of need these people have, there had to be something more. And we thought instead of trying to send everyone out, we would create something for all of Washington county. And like Sue mentioned, we see people from eight counties, more than 20 cities.”

Now more than 200 individual families have been using their services.

“The impact has been greater than anything that any of us, on our best day, with our largest imagination, could have dreamed of,” said Anderson.

Having accessible services in town is a big reason some Blair residents are able to get help.

“I love that it’s in Blair because I have four kids because I’m less likely to drive to Omaha back and forth all the time. So it’s really nice to have something close by,” said Blair resident Ashlie Oestreich.

Location isn’t the only factor.

”In Omaha most places, they have a waiting list to get people in. It’s a month, two months, three months out. And right now, we are able to see whoever needs to be seen in a relatively short period of time.”

“It feels like family. We come here, it’s very welcoming. The staff has been great and helpful. They do a good job just listening and really trying to connect with what’s going on in our lives,” said Blair resident Gabin Oestreich.

The Upper Room Counseling Center currently has three therapists and plans to add another very soon.

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