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Balance Treatment Center in Visalia

Jan 22, 2021 03:22PM ● By Rachel Trigueiro

Tidings of Comfort

By Rachel Trigueiro
December 2020 | January 2021

Nearly one in six adults in California has a mental health need. Around one in 20 adults suffer from a serious mental illness and the rate among children is even higher, with one in 13 who struggle to participate in simple daily activities.

A recent statewide study shows the Central Valley has the highest rate of mental illness in California. Because of the vast need for mental health services, Balance Treatment Center, a mental health treatment program in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Calabasas, opened a Visalia location to serve the greater Central Valley in November 2019, offering a unique Intensive Outpatient Program.

The company believes in a personal approach to treatment, focusing on the emotional, social, educational and physical elements of a person by incorporating group therapy. “When people are isolated, group therapy is so effective. The group approach helps people more rapidly than standard one-to-one therapy,” says Clinical Director Gali Gill. “By providing our clients with the opportunity to operate in a group setting as they would in their daily lives, we reveal blind spots, which ultimately enables change, healthy social habits, opportunities to grow and to create and pursue goals.”

Despite the pandemic shutdown, Balance Treatment Center has continued meeting with clients through teletherapy and hopes to reopen face to face in the near future. “We are seeing more calls related to isolation, hopelessness, depression and anxiety. There’s so much uncertainty with safety, elections and the pandemic. People are stretched with their coping,” Gill says.

The number of people screening with moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety has continued to increase throughout 2020 and remains higher than before COVID-19. 

“There is such a need for mental health treatment,” Gill states. “Many mental health patients fall between the cracks because they don’t have substance abuse problems. Every single person on this earth is experiencing more stress than ever before. Our capacity to cope is much lower than normal. Things that maybe didn’t feel like a huge deal to some people a year ago are causing a bigger reaction because we’re so taxed. When our stressors outweigh our capacity, we really need help.”

Worried about a friend or a neighbor this season? Check on them. Give them a call or stop by to say hello. Bring a coffee or baked good. “You’re never going to negatively impact someone by checking in on them,” Gill states. “Suicide was on the rise before this. From a public health perspective, there is treatment. Don’t be scared to check in with your friends or call us directly for them if you need to.” 

Though merry and bright, the holiday season often brings with it a multitude of colder emotions. Expectations for celebrations (or the lack thereof) will affect many, while for others, being separated from or missing loved ones entirely will only serve to remind them of this painful year. Struggling through financial hardship, job losses and unknowns during the holidays causes angst. But help exists. “We’re all in this together. We’re here and we are so thankful to be a part of this community,” Gill says. 

Discussing mental health improves a community by making it more acceptable for those suffering to seek help and get on the road to recovery. Mental health isn’t just about mental illnesses. It’s about living in a positive state of wellbeing. This holiday season, practice unplugging, turning off the news, speaking kindness (even to yourself), going for a cold walk and enjoying the smallest things of beauty along the way. •

Balance Treatment Center • Gali Gill, Ph.D.

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