People in Blair now have a closer option if they are seeking mental health treatment — a counseling center at Country Bible Church.
“There are some generous, very caring people in Blair who see the need for counseling in Blair and started working and putting together funding to make it happen,” Upper Room Counseling Center Board of Directors president Jennifer Brown said. “They developed a board of directors and we hired director of counseling Sue Miller-Harsin, who hired Brittany Pleskac, who are fully licensed.
“Sue Miller-Harsin is a well-respected counselor in our community and we are excited to have that,” Brown said. “We know we are offering a good, solid service to the community.”
Brown said Blair has a need for comprehensive counseling. She said a lot of people drive to Omaha, spend time getting there and back, as well as the time for the meeting.
“We want to make it really accessible to everyone in Blair, Washington County and the surrounding area,” she said.
Miller-Harsin has been a therapist for 39 years in private practice in Omaha for 30 years. She said she has had a heart for mental health counseling in Washington County.
“Blair is a mental health desert,” she said. “We are a large community for one and a half therapists. I am thrilled to open the clinic here at the church.”
Miller-Harsin says they want to move their clinic from the church eventually once everything gets off the ground.
“This is a dream come true for me for our county to have two therapists on board," she said.
Miller-Harsin works with children, marriage and family, trauma, and depression among other issues.
“My passion is to help people find their passion in life, find their path and overcome obstacles preventing them.
People need someone to talk to and the counselors at Upper Room Counseling Clinic are available.
“A lot of people think ‘I have friends and people to talk to,’ but there’s something special about a person coming at you from an unbiased perspective,” Pleskac said.
She graduated in May but has over 1,000 hours of direct therapy. She leans towards creative type counseling, equine, play and creative arts therapy, with marriage therapy being her specialty.
Brown said there’s still a stigma on people that see counselors.
“That’s one of the blessings of the space at Country Bible Church. People can take a trip out of town. It’s a private space and no one knows who’s coming.”
Pleskac agreed there was a stigma.
"It's the fear that people coming here are admitting that's something wrong," she said. "People want to live on that social media highlight reel that 'I'm OK, you're OK.'"
Brown said anyone who calls will get a referral if that’s not the right fit.
“We’re a place for people to start,” she said.
People will have the anonymity there where before they would have had to drive to Omaha to keep the anonymity.
Appointments are being offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but as they add counselors, they may expand offerings.
The board of directors includes Brown, Mark Zanotto as treasurer, Glen Hudson as secretary, Andrew Anderson, Amber Beckenhauer, Deb Hutton, Kirk Hutton and Laura Ronning.