Daily Therapy Program Gives Man New Outlook
MidMichigan Medical Center – Gratiot’s Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is one of only three partial hospitalization programs available to residents in Michigan north of Lansing. The program offers daily treatment for those who need something more than a weekly appointment yet do not require an inpatient stay. The Gratiot Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization program team includes, pictured left to right: Louise St. John, R.N., Michelle Lucchesi, M.A., and Will Thomas, M.A., and who all work closely with local psychiatrists, therapist and primary care providers for extended patient care.
Terry Leiter spent much of the past 28 years happily married, raising a family and working the same job as head technical writer for a large equipment company. Through the years, he’d had some ups and downs, but when more recent circumstances created obstacles that became so overwhelming he could no longer navigate them on his own, he sought the help of the professionals at MidMichigan Medical Center – Gratiot’s Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).
Leiter’s job demands had become unreasonable; he was having health issues and burning out.
When he couldn’t transfer when the company switched ownership, he was forced to retire. His health conditions became such that they required surgeries, and he was also diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer. These developments kept him from being able to start work elsewhere, and he was forced to tap into what was once a healthy nest egg much sooner than expected.
“You know, things began happening and the cumulative effect made it hard to cope,” said Leiter. He began taking medication for depression but stopped cold turkey after about a year. “I have never been fatalistic,” said Leiter, “but I began to have dark thoughts. I was very glad the therapist I was seeing told me about the PHP program at MidMichigan.”
Gratiot’s PHP program is one of only three partial hospitalization programs available to residents in Michigan north of Lansing. The program offers daily treatment for those who need something more than a weekly appointment yet do not require an inpatient stay. The Gratiot Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization program team includes Will Thomas, M.A., Michelle Lucchesi, M.A., and Louise St. John, R.N., who all work closely with local psychiatrists, therapist and primary care providers for extended patient care.
“Our team is here for those who need extra support. We help with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, grief, poor stress management and assertiveness that may interfere with the ability to function,” said Lucchesi. “We teach coping skills that the patient will implement when they return to their home each evening. Then, the following day, we review how their night went utilizing the skills.”
Leiter stated that he was very impressed with the PHP professionals and structure of the program. He worked alongside a small group of patients from different backgrounds with varying challenges. “The materials and techniques presented were so well done and individualized,” Leiter said. “We had opportunities to learn from each other, and we also journaled, wrote letters, watched videos and were guided in getting to know ourselves on a deeper level. It was very helpful, allowing me to better live in the now rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.”
As Leiter continues to navigate cancer and face many unknowns, the tool’s provided through the Gratiot PHP program prove to be invaluable in maintaining a realistic but positive attitude.
“The staff at MidMichigan really helped my outlook. I was feeling overwhelmed by bad luck and circumstance. Now, I can more easily enjoy the little things in life: a beautiful morning and playing with my granddaughter,” he said. “They were so nice from the moment I arrived. The nurse, Louise, put me at ease instantly, and my experience evolved from there. I am grateful to have been part of this program.”
The PHP program accepts voluntary self-referrals, community or physician referral. Sessions are held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those interested in more information may call the Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization program at (989) 466-3253. Those interested in more information on MidMichigan’s comprehensive behavioral health programs may visit www.midmichigan.org/mentalhealth.