The Mental Health Day Treatment Program Provides Hope, Healing and Support

ThedaCare Behavioral Health Mental Health Day Treatment is a unique comprehensive program in Menasha for individuals who are having significant difficulties in life due to mental illness. The individuals are referred by primary care, outpatient therapists, or inpatient psychiatrists. The goal is to help patients make a smooth and confident return to mood stabilization and the responsibilities and joys of daily life.

Founded 23 years ago, the clinic offers group therapies and skills education for adults aged 18 and older who suffer from depressions, Bipolar depressions, anxiety disorders, and other psychological disorders. Kim Prusha, mental health clinician and registered nurse, has been with the program since it began.

“In 1994, inpatient stays for many mental health issues were very short,” said Prusha. “People needed more therapy and support, so we created a program to help our patients achieve a long-lasting wellness.”

The program provides general therapy, addresses symptoms and negative habits, and helps build coping life skills. “Our therapists use many proven techniques to help our patients, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapies, life skills enhancement, psycho-education, and mindfulness,” continued Prusha. “But the magic of the program is with the group itself. There is still such a stigma around mental illness. It’s very healing to be in a group setting surrounded by others who know what it is like to live and work with these illnesses.”

In Menasha, the day treatment program starts with six hours per day for two weeks, then transitions to half days for four weeks. The program involves various skill building activities including expressive arts, helping clients discover new ways to cope with what life throws at them.

Six therapists, an occupational therapist, and a nurse are on staff, along with psychiatrist, Dr. Yong Li, who monitors and manages medications for the patients. To supplement the groups, ThedaCare offers individual support and family education and therapy.

Though anxious about group therapy on first arrival, nearly 99 percent of people who begin the treatment program remain in group therapy because they learn so much from each other, and they no longer feel alone on the journey. Prusha, who has been with ThedaCare since 1991, is a strong believer in her patients’ spirit. “They tell us, ‘you saved my life’, but the truth is we are constantly inspired by them. It has been a great honor to help these individuals heal for 23 years.”