PrairieCare Medical Group

MANKATO — After launching its Mankato mental health center last summer, PrairieCare Medical Group will expand its programming into a new location in 2018.

The organization’s current 201 N. Broad St. location was always thought to be temporary while a larger space was lined up. PrairieCare started offering adolescent mental health care at the location last year.

Now the medical group will expand its programming to more ages as it readies a move to its permanent nearby home.

PrairieCare will begin its college-age outpatient care by the end of January. A program for 5- to 11-year-olds will come next once the center moves to its permanent location at 120 E. Main St. in late September or early October.

Once all up and running, the center could treat a few dozen patients with potential for more if the need presents itself. The new location will help accommodate the increase in patients.

Formerly an orthodontics office, the new site would nearly triple PrairieCare’s square footage, said Matt Petersen, operations director for PrairieCare in Mankato.

“On an outpatient basis, there’s still a need in Mankato and the hope with the expansion is to continue to add on and meet the need,” he said.

The program will be based on one already offered in Rochester, which like Mankato has a high percentage of college-age people. It'll be led in Mankato by one of two newly hired psychiatrists and would consist of group therapy with individual and medication management components Monday through Friday.

“The main goal is to help reduce their current mental health symptoms and provide them the tools they need to feel confident in their academic endeavors,” said Natalie Jech, PrairieCare’s community relations coordinator.

Patients don’t need to be enrolled in college to participate in the eight-person program. As an example, someone whose mental health challenges are keeping them from pursuing advanced education could fit in with the program’s aims. 

PrairieCare is already scheduling free needs assessments, and anyone interested is encouraged to call 507-322-5464. 

The care targeted at younger children will be led by the other newly hired psychiatrist after the medical group makes its move. Petersen estimated it could include 12 children.

He said the new location and expansions are exciting for the group and signal a positive start for PrairieCare's mental health center in Mankato. 

“It’s exceeded our expectations both in what we thought the need would be but also the warm welcoming we've received in the community,” he said. 

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArolaMFP.

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