CLEVELAND — After a year full of uncertainties, there seems to be some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, with a vaccine now being administered. But for millions of Americans, 2021 will be focused on pulling out of the mental rut so many of us are in.
“There are a lot of people who just won’t go get the help they need," said Rhona Stark. "It’s very important that we look at mental health and that we combine that with fitness and physical health."
Stark is a licensed clinical counselor of 20 years as well as the owner of the Orangetheory in Akron, Canton and Copley. Now she's using that platform to offer Orangetherapy.
"This is about relationships and caring about the people. This is our community, these individuals who come in here are our community," Stark said.
Here’s how the therapy works: At the end of each hour-long class health professionals, as well as interns from Walsh University and Malone University, will talk with attendees about a variety of topics that may be impacting their lives. Topics may include lack of sleep, job loss, stress or other pandemic related issues.
“These are important issues and they shape the mental health of our members,” Stark said.
Stark said they’re still working on how long these extra, free services will last, but said the hope is to offer them for at least 12 weeks.
“We want to make sure that we bring to light topics that individuals may never have thought about that are going to improve not only their lives, but their children, their significant others, their friends and the community."
But there's another Northeast Ohio already combining mental health services and fitness.
“What we're trying to do is remove barriers," said Dr. Jeffrey Turell.
Turell owns and operates Strive Mental Health and Wellness LLC, located in Shaker Heights.
“Now we're able to offer adult mental health services, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, personal fitness and group fitness classes, which I called the wellness hour," the owner said.
Turell opened his practice in 2018 with the goal of cutting down on the number of trips his clients needed to make to get the help they needed.
"Life is already difficult. Getting to their appointment, getting out of bed, to tell them to go somewhere else you know to meet with some other person to have an appointment and evaluation just adds another thing to the list of things that they need to do," he said. "What we're trying to do is remove barriers and have it all in one place where they can go just removes one of the barriers to them and makes it easier, you know, trying to basically press the east button for my patients whenever I can.”
Turell said clients seeking mental health services at his office have doubled since March. And with COVID still lingering, he said he and his staff are doing the best they can to provide people with the help they need.
“We've had to adapt a lot and I feel that we've done that.”