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Retiree marks mental health field's evolution in Marion County

Staff writer

In 19 years as office coordinator with Prairie View Mental Health Clinic, retiree Diana Hadley has seen the evolution of her workplace and mental health.

While the office has been at S. Ash St. in Hillsboro for nearly a decade, Hadley has had her share of experience moving locations.

She worked in Marion for six years when the office was next to St. Luke Hospital, then moved to Hillsboro.

Before moving to its current building, Prairie View used a set of six modular trailers near Country Haven Inn for three years. While the trailers had their own heating and cooling, and were furnished like normal offices, there were other drawbacks to deal with, Hadley said.

“The wind would come sweeping down from the north,” she said. “When it was windy, things were moving. There was no tornado shelter so we got stuck out there, but we got lucky that we had no tornadoes.”

The office is one of three area branches, with others in Newton and McPherson.

One of the changes in mental health is that it is seen less as a specific problem or disease, Hadley said.

“Everybody has some kind of mental health issue,” she said. “Some are more severe, but it could be anxiety or depression, anything like that. More people are finding out there is help out there.”

In addition to a more open perception of mental health, starting treatment earlier increases the comfort level for clients, Hadley said.

“It helps a lot working with the kids and in the schools,” she said. “Everybody saw us and they didn’t think, ‘Oh, it’s mental health.’ ”

One way to help clients feel comfortable is to maintain an inviting exterior, board member Arlene Hett said.

“It’s a needed organization in our communities,” she said. “I just want it to look more welcoming to first-timers and other clients.”

In addition to serving on the board, Hett personally helped update Prairie View’s plants and painted its sign last week when it needed a new coat.

“I realized the sign was in poor shape, so I told the CEO if they provided the paint, I’d do the painting,” she said. “That’s what I’m doing, helping to perk it up.”

That atmosphere carries over and makes it easier for clients to interact with office staff, Hadley said.

“A lot of the clients who come in talk to you like you’re part of the family,” she said.

Last modified July 2, 2019

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