Lara Hakamaki, Michigan Psychological Care, Interviews with Jackson Television (JTV)
Bart Hawley: [Lara Hakamaki] is the Director of Corporate Development at Michigan Psychological Care. Welcome to the show.
Lara Hakamaki: Thank you.
Andy Hawley: Good morning.
Lara Hakamaki: Good morning.
Bart Hawley: And this is your first job out of college.
Lara Hakamaki: It is, yes.
Bart Hawley: How's it going?
Lara Hakamaki: It's going really well. I actually graduated from Albion College, just about 15, 20 minutes from here. I knew that I loved the area and I wanted to be back here and provide services. Once I got my job at Michigan Psychological Care, I knew what I had to do and we got to do it.
Andy Hawley: Mental health has been a topic of course, but really the pandemic, I think elevated the conversation of mental health. For children, really, all of a sudden now, everyone was maybe having some mental health issues with Covid. Talk about what you guys found during Covid and maybe coming out a little bit.
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely. Between there being a lack of care providers and the number skyrocketing, we found that people weren't getting the services that they needed. Anxiety and depression increased during COVID by 40 to 45% in the general population, and 60 to 65% in people ages 19 to 29. As you can tell, the skyrocket for need of care was crazy, and we were hiring left and right to find people to provide services for the community. That's when we decided that we needed to have more offices, we needed to have more providers, and be able to have more services for those struggling with their mental health.
Bart Hawley: You guys are fairly new in Jackson.
Lara Hakamaki: Yeah.
Andy Hawley: You're having a ton of patients that are probably seeking care for the first time in their life for something, that's got to be very, very sensitive. Talk about how you guys operate.
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely. The entire process is incredibly sensitive and confidential. Someone who may be a little bit nervous about coming in for therapy, there's a huge stigma around it, but we keep all of your information completely confidential. From the moment you call or get a referral from your primary care physician, we contact you through our front desk. We have a fully staffed front desk at all of our offices. They gather a little bit of information to fit you with the best therapist possible for you. That way when you're going through therapy, it's not the, well, it's not really working, because of the person you're working with.
Andy Hawley: Sure, everyone has a specialty.
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely.
Bart Hawley: What are you dealing with right now?
Lara Hakamaki: Seasonal affective disorders. As the months change a little bit, we have less sunshine, the duration and the intensity of the sunlight significantly decreases. That causes what's called seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. And as you can see, it's four times more likely in women than men. About 20% of people experience seasonal affective disorder every year. There's a couple different ways to combat this. You can do light therapy, they have these things called happy boxes. It's actually just a light that you can switch on that mimics sunshine. Another thing is psychotherapy, which we provide at Michigan Psychological Care. Then there's some other things that you can do, but these are what we find the most helpful.
Andy Hawley: I had this a couple weeks ago on our first cold. I was talking to Trish, it's like everyone deals with that a little bit.
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely.
Andy Hawley: For the first couple cold days of the year.
Bart Hawley: It's coming.
Andy Hawley: It is coming, tomorrow.
Bart Hawley: Full Spectrum Solutions, they started here in Jackson, and their first product was a lamp for seasonal affective disorder.
Andy Hawley: Interesting, very interesting.
Bart Hawley: Look where they are today, huge company. Do you have to get referred to you by a doctor in order to seek help?
Lara Hakamaki: Nope, anyone can reach out to Michigan Psychological Care, there's a couple different ways that you can do it. You can go on our website, and we have a form where you can just type in a little bit of information and shoot it our way. We'll be able to set you up and have one of our front desks call you. Or, if you are in your primary care physician, or whatever doctor's office you're in, they can actually say you're actually marking for a little bit of depression, anxiety, whatever it may be. Then they can send over a referral to our team. We'll take care of the whole process of getting you set up, getting you in with the best possible therapist, and helping you live the life you've always dreamed.
Andy Hawley: Lara, can you guys identify and help diagnose learning disabilities in children?
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely. We have a wide variety of psychological evaluations that we can provide. Anything from ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD. We have a full list of our services on our website, www.michiganpsychologicalcare.com. If you go on there, there's a little section at the top there that says services, and it'll go through everything we provide. But if you have any more questions about everything we provide, I can definitely share that.
Andy Hawley: That's cool.
Bart Hawley: Is it expensive?
Lara Hakamaki: No. A misconception about therapy is that you're going to be paying everything out of pocket, it's going to be hundreds of dollars for you to come. But in fact, it's all based off insurance. So whether you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, Meridian, McLaren, any insurance, that's what we go based off of. We actually accept every insurance, every major insurance. And if we can't particularly work with a certain insurance, we do have interns who can see you in person or telemedicine. All of our providers are able to see you virtually or in person.
Andy Hawley: Wow, that's amazing. Where do you see the company growing in Jackson? Do you see more therapists, more locations?
Lara Hakamaki: Absolutely. We're actually already looking at expanding. We have been hiring more providers. We opened up here in Jackson on June 1st, and we're already hiring quite a few new members. Which means we're going to have to get a little bit larger, a bigger building, and then I would love to bring an autism and ABA center here. We have one in our ALMA location, but we find that there is a wide variety of services provided in Jackson, and ABA is not strictly provided here. And if so, there's a wait list.
Andy Hawley: Interesting.
Bart Hawley: Lara's from Iron Mountain.
Andy Hawley: Lara, trivia, you probably did not know this. Lara was a contestant in Miss Michigan.
Bart Hawley: Really?
Lara Hakamaki: I was, yes.
Bart Hawley: Wow, that's awesome.
Lara Hakamaki: I actually ran with your Rose Queen, and she sat right next to me during the pageant while we were getting ready. We became pretty good friends, and it was an incredible experience. But my platform at Miss Michigan, like I told you earlier, was mental health. During that they asked me, why is your job at Michigan Psychological Care your passion? I said, because everybody experiences mental health at some time. It could be the grocery store clerk, Fortune 500 CEO, or it could be Miss USA. And Miss USA had actually died by suicide in 2019.
Andy Hawley: So interesting. Thank you so much for being with us, and welcome Michigan Psychological Care to Jackson.
Lara Hakamaki: Thank you.
Andy Hawley: Lara Hakamaki from Michigan Psychological Care. More of The Morning Show right after this.