Guest Blog: Mental Health Month, by Dr. Rochelle Von Hof

In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, I asked Rochelle Von Hof, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Programming and Services at the Barber National Institute, to say a few words about her experiences in this vast and ever-changing field. 

~ Maureen

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Dr. Rochelle Von Hof

Hello!  Let me take a minute to introduce myself.  My name is Dr. Rochelle Von Hof.  I am the Director of Clinical Services and Programming at the Barber National Institute.  I have been with the Institute since March 2011; however, I have been in the mental health field since 2004.  I have a passion for working with children, adolescents and families who have experienced trauma or have relational issues.  When I started my journey into mental health I had no idea that it would lead me into this direction.  Originally, when I started my career I thought I was going to be a teacher for special education.  Boy did that change!

When I first entered the field it seemed that anyone could get services and have these services for almost any length of time.  This is one of the biggest changes that I have seen in the field.  In the current world, it seems that it is difficult to get children approved for services.  I often hear of children being denied services or only getting part of their services approved.  This is something that I think is frightening due to the potential impact on the child’s recovery and overall wellbeing.  I feel that if a child is prescribed services by a psychologist or psychiatrist it is something that should be honored.

Outside of payment and authorization for services, one of the most positive growths I have seen in this field is the improvement of delivery of quality services and the view on trauma.  There has been a large focus on quality improvement initiatives and quality checks being conducted.  This is something that has grown since I began the field.  It is really nice to see that our auditors want to see that children and families in services are improving and that the clinician is clearly documenting this.  Quality is another passion of mine because I believe it is a quality service that drives an agency to be successful.  I believe that every individual being served should receive the same quality treatment no matter who the individual’s therapist is.

The view towards individuals who have been traumatized has also improved.  In some agencies they treat everyone as if they have experienced a traumatic event.  Other agencies, such as Barber National Institute, have become Certified Trauma Informed Learning Communities.  This is a movement to spread the word about trauma throughout the agency, to educate staff and clients about trauma, and to increase safety awareness.  Additionally there are evidence based models of treatment, such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), empirically proven to help children, adolescents and adults recover from the traumatic event.

As the mental health community grows I would like to see more funding available for the children’s services.  I believe that the split between funding for adults and children is 80/20.  It would be nice to see the split in funding be closer to equal amongst the two populations.  If children have a better chance of getting services early in life than maybe they will not need as many services or intensive services later in life.

At the Barber National Institute we offer a variety of mental health services to children and families.  These services include Early Intervention, Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS), Family Based Mental Health, Acute Partial Hospitalization Program, Blended Case Management, and the Outpatient Clinic.  For adults the mental health services offered include Adult Behavior Specialists, Blended Case Management, Adult Partial Hospitalization Program, and the Outpatient Clinic.  All of our therapists are highly skilled and trained in a variety of backgrounds.  Our clinical therapists receive monthly trauma training and consultation from a local trauma specialist.  The therapists also receive training in family therapy.  Additional trainings are offered to the clinicians throughout the year as well.

It is important to seek mental health help if you feel that you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or even a recent change in your life.  Feel free to reach out to the Barber National Institute for an appointment or to help answer any questions you may have.

Dr. Von Hof joined the Barber National Institute in 2011 as a mobile therapist and behavior specialist, and also served as program director of the family based mental health program. Dr. Von Hof was awarded a doctoral degree in psychology from Walden University in January of 2017. Her dissertation focused on the effects of childhood trauma on family dynamics. A graduate of Mercyhurst University, where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Von Hof completed additional training in family therapy, trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT.)  She has extensive experience relating to the treatment of trauma and other mental health issues.
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