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New mental health center opens in AZ, hopes to treat first responders

Posted at 10:30 PM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 11:52:04-05

PHOENIX — A new mental health center is opening in Phoenix with the hopes of treating first responders who may be in need of help.

The Mental Health Center of America opened its doors in early January, and it hopes to be a one-stop location for diagnosing and treating mental health.

MHCA will serve individuals during mental health-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, obsessive thoughts, self-harm, impulsive behavior, suicidal thoughts, addiction, and more.

Dr. Soffia Palsdottir, Chief psychologist for MHCA tells ABC15 that like any physical injury to a first responder, there can be trauma to the brain, “it doesn’t mean they are ill, or they are weak, or they can’t do their job, it just means that they need to attend to this injury to prevent it from becoming a full-blown health issue.”

Along with hoping to treat first responders, MHCA will be open to the public and will have psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, physician assistants, and licensed professional counselors.

“MHCA fills a void in the mental health field. Too many people begin their mental health journey only to become overwhelmed and exhausted by our current mental health system. MHCA combines a wide variety of treatment options and healthcare providers in one location to ensure the patient receives the most well-rounded and accurate mental health care possible,” said Dr. Mona Amini, a Psychiatrist at MHCA.

MHCA Services / Treatments provided include:

• Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation
• Individual Counseling
• Neurofeedback
• Psychotherapy
• Psychiatric Services
• Prescription Management
• Therapeutics such as cryogenic treatments, cold plunges, infrared sauna, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
• Amenities such as meditation room and breathing room

The outpatient mental health center hopes to transform the mental health field in Arizona, including barriers like cost.

Leaders at MHCA say they will accept health insurance to help with the costs associated with mental health care.

To learn more, click here.

The 100 Club in Arizona has been focusing on mental health for first responders as well. They have provided around 82 law enforcement agencies with an app that can connect first responders with therapists, and resources near them.

Fireproof and Bulletproof Apps allow a first responder to anonymously seek help without having to go directly through their agency.

The 100 Club, a non-profit, pays 100% of the costs associated with running this resource.

ABC15 is told that the Arizona Department of Public Safety is the largest agency they work with.

Angela Harrolle with the 100 Club said they don’t track the number of individual subscribers for the services, “we intentionally de-identify this data so that we can protect, and keep the information confidential for those individuals that are looking for assistance.”

The data does help agencies understand what types of help or assistance may be needed in a department — like substance abuse, gambling, or marital issues at home.