Thursday, September 29, 2016

Megan Birdsong offers mental health counseling at Promise CHC

SIOUX CENTER – Megan Birdsong likes helping people realize their own strengths and potential and then using that to help them make positive changes in their lives.

That’s what she finds rewarding about serving as an outpatient mental health therapist.

Megan Birdsong, a licensed master social worker for
Seasons Center for Behavioral Health, has begun
providing counseling services to patients onsite at
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Birdsong, who is licensed master social worker for Spencer-based Seasons Center for Behavioral Health, recently began seeing patients weekly as a therapist at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. Promise, which integrates behavioral health with primary health care, has a contract with Seasons Center to provide the service 1-5 p.m. Mondays.

She interned last year with the Maggie Greving, the previous Seasons therapist who served at Promise. When Greving was no longer able to provide therapy services at Promise, she asked Birdsong if she would like to take her place.

“I was really excited to be able to do so,” Birdsong said.

Birdsong, a 2009 graduate from Unity Christian High School in Orange City, earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Dordt College in Sioux Center in 2013. She then received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2015.

Before beginning her service for Seasons in February, she worked for Hope Haven for five years, 2011-16.

Here are some of her reflections about serving as a behavioral health therapist and her new role at Promise.

Q: What interests you about this opportunity to provide behavioral health services at Promise?
A: I am really looking forward to being able to see and help a new set of clients, especially other cultures that I do not always get to work with otherwise. Promise has really great resources for being able to reach all different types of people, and I think that is really exciting.

Q: What is behavioral health care in your own words?
A: Behavioral health is our mental and emotional health as people. It is the struggles that we have in those areas that can affect our behaviors as well as our physical health.

Q: How did you originally become interested in becoming a behavioral health therapist?
A: Throughout my undergraduate social work program, we started to learn about behavioral health, and I really actually did not think that it was something that I would be good at. It seemed very overwhelming and challenging, and while both of these are true, during my graduate program I starting getting more exposure and experience in behavioral health and then completed my internship in behavioral health and came to learn that it was something I really enjoyed, and despite the challenges, it is really rewarding.

Q: Why are behavioral health care services so important and why should they be integrated with primary care?
A: I think behavioral health is so important because our physical and mental health are so interconnected that both need to be treated to really have effective change and continued good health.
Q: What do you hope you can bring to Promise in this role?
A: I hope that I can really help make that integration with primary care a reality. Promise is great that their primary physicians and now mental health therapists are all in the same place making that integration much easier. I also hope to just help each individual that comes to my office achieve a more happy and meaningful life.

Q: What are your impressions of Promise as an organization?
A: I really appreciate Promise as an organization. They do so much to reach people within our community that might otherwise fall through the cracks. They have a wealth of knowledge and resources.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

Megan Birdsong and her husband, Jordan, live in Sioux Center and have a daughter, Jaila. In her spare time, Megan enjoys reading, spending time with her family and serving as a church youth leader with her husband.

Promise Community Health Center also has a contract with Creative Living Center of Rock Valley to provide behavioral health therapy services. Rebecca Mangold, a provisionally licensed mental health counselor for Creative Living Center, sees patients 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays at Promise. Pedro Ruiz serves as Promise’s full-time behavioral health coordinator and interpreter.