New Psychiatry Office in Howland Helps Fill Need

HOWLAND, Ohio – There aren’t a lot of psychiatrists practicing in the Mahoning Valley, but Mary Hall, a certified psychiatric nurse practitioner, sees a need for those services.

“This is where psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners have really filled that hole,” Hall said. “We’ve really brought access to the area, especially this area because of the low volume of psychiatrists.”

Hall, her family members and representatives from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber participated Monday in a ribbon-cutting at Hall’s MGH Healthcare, 321 Niles-Cortland Road NE.

“I primarily offer psychiatry, which includes medication management for just about any type of mental health diagnosis you can think of,” said Hall, who also has a doctorate in nursing. 

That includes depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress and many other diagnoses.

She treats all ages, children through seniors.

Hall has seen an uptick in the number of young people seeking mental health services, particularly during and since the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of that relates to the isolation endured while the virus was at its height.

“I’m seeing a lot of patients who are in their early 20s, and a lot of them relate it back to the pandemic,” Hall said.

She manages patients’ medications as well.

“I also approach it very holistically,” Hall said. “I’m board certified in family practice.”

For most of her patients, Hall addresses their mental health and ensures their physical health isn’t harmed.

Some medications may increase patients’ diabetes, high cholesterol or obesity risk, for example.

“Think about it: If a person gains 1 pound of weight, that will create 5,000 miles of new blood vessels,” Hall said. “If your heart beats 100,000 times a day, that’s 500,000 more miles that your heart has to beat through. Think about how hard that is on someone’s heart.”

Hall has seen changes in the public perception of mental health services over the past decade, and she said some of the stigma that used to accompany it is fading.

“Everyone has mental health,” she said. “It’s just as important as physical health. People have anxiety on a normal day-to-day basis.”

That makes them normal. She said anxiety is made up of two things: excessive worry and excessive fear.

“Who doesn’t go through those periods when they get worried and fearfulness?” Hall said. “When it needs to be treated, that’s when it gets out of control where you’re not sleeping; you’re not able to go to work, not able to concentrate. That’s when you’ll need to get help.”

Psychotherapy is sufficient for some patients, while others need medication.

Hall likens it to a diabetic. If that person’s physician tells them they need to go on insulin, they’re not going to refuse because they think there’s a stigma. Similarly, if you’re having anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with being on medication for that, she said.

Hall and members of her family who have all gone through Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, training, are running the office. As the practice picks up, she plans to hire staff members.

She also offers other therapeutic modalities, such as transmagnetic stimulation, neurofeedback and neuro cognitive testing.

Transmagnetic stimulation, which Hall says has been available for decades, is FDA approved for the treatment of depression, anxious depression and OCD. 

“Basically, it’s similar to an MRI. It uses magnetic impulses to help improve the brain’s neuroplasticity,” she said. “In essence, [it’s] almost healing that brain so that a person’s depressive and anxious symptoms can improve.”

In some cases, TMS can replace medication. Hall said 80% of patients respond to TMS, with 60% going into remission.

Hall has been providing her services through telehealth since January, and the new office opened to in-patient visits in June.

“I love doing telehealth, but I also love seeing patients in person,” she said. “I feel like as a psychiatry practice, you really need both because patients don’t always want to do just telehealth psychiatry, or they don’t want to do just in person. So I’d like to be able to offer choices to my patients.”

Also by offering her services both in person and via telehealth, Hall is prepared when changes in the laws surrounding telehealth psychiatry are enacted.

Pictured at top: Mary Hall, owner of MGH Healthcare in Howland. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.