BURLINGTON — After hearing about the need for mental health services west of Interstate 94, Lora Reinders, clinic director and psychotherapist at Pathways Consulting, is opening an office at 609 Pine St. in Downtown Burlington.
Pathways was founded by Sharon O’Brien in 2000 in Kenosha, where they still have an office at 4633 Washington Road. Reinders began working there as a therapist in 2008 and when O’Brien decided to retire, Reinders bought the practice from her in 2011.
Shortly after, in 2014, Reinders opened another office at 6929 Mariner Drive in Mount Pleasant. She’s also hired on more therapists to meet a growing need she’s seen in the community.
“We’ve just grown organically since then. Just as we fill up (appointments) we try to bring in a therapist to meet the need we have coming in,” said Reinders. “And that’s what’s happening right now with Burlington.”
Fulfilling a need
Reinders gives therapist Jennifer Brau credit for raising her awareness of the mental health needs in Burlington. Brau worked in Burlington before joining Pathways and through her connections to a regional National Alliance of Mental Illness group and the mental health community, she knew Pathways’ services were needed west of the Interstate.
“(Brau) planted the seed in my brain that this is a market that’s underserved,” said Reinders. “I think there are great providers out there in Burlington, it’s just that there aren’t enough of them.”
Pathways psychotherapist Carla Pratt, who will be available for appointments in Burlington, already has clients who lived on the west end of Racine coming to see her at the Kenosha office.
“So it must be that there’s a need there,” said Pratt.
In addition to the general shortage of therapists, Reinders heard that many Burlington area therapists specialize in treating a specific condition. All four of the therapists who are available for appointments in Burlington — Reinders, Brau, Pratt and Kate Bullard — can provide general mental health care for depression, anxiety or communication issues.
They also have their own specialized treatment areas: Reinders specializes in treating trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder; Pratt also treats trauma and specializes in sexual trauma; Brau and Bulliard specialize in drug and alcohol treatment.
Another issue on the west end is a lack of clinics that accept state Medicaid. Pathways accepts state Medicaid as well as two Medicaid HMOs.
The Burlington office may be a bit “bare-bones” at the moment — Reinders is working on buying furniture — but they already have appointments lined up. Office hours will be by appointment but do go into the evening hours.
“Those are the ones that get filled up faster,” said Reinders. “But they are available.”
Reinders said she does not plan on hiring staff for the Burlington office, so to book an appointment, patients have to call the Kenosha office at 262-652-7222.