The team at Midwest Mental Health includes Cynthia Hughes, licensed practical nurse, certified dementia practitioner, and certified Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care trainer; Paula Zuccaro, certified family nurse practitioner and adult mental health clinical nurse specialist; Tracy Romey, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and board certified by South Dakota’s Medical and Nursing Board for “care across the lifespan.”
By Marcus Heerdt
HOT SPRINGS – Midwest Mental Health of South Dakota is open for business and is accepting new patients at their new clinic located in the historic “Medical Block” building at 505 N River Street in downtown Hot Springs.
“A long time ago I wanted to start a clinic because I wanted to have a Christian-based mental health practice,” said owner Tracy Romey. “We do not shy away from a faith-based approach to care.”
Romey is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and board certified by South Dakota’s Medical and Nursing Board for “care across the lifespan,” which means she can provide care to all-ages.
After earning her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 1987, Romey moved to rural Fall River County and worked at the Hot Springs VA Medical Center as a nurse manager. She and her husband John lived on the family ranch south of Oelrichs and the couple had four children: Cole, Calvin, Jocelyn, and Jacyne. Cole is a lawyer in Hot Springs, Calvin works on the ranch, and Jocelyn and Jacyne help Tracy at Midwest Mental Health.
Romey worked at the VA for 13 years and then left to continue graduate-level courses while working on the family ranch. Romey graduated from SDSU’s psychiatric family nurse practitioner program in 2013 and then worked in the Behavioral Management department at Fall River Health Services for nearly seven years.
Realizing the need for more mental health services in western South Dakota, Romey dedicated much time and energy to establish Midwest Mental Health of South Dakota, and the practice began seeing patients in early July of this year.
“The Midwest has always been different but that landscape is changing,” Romey said. “Other areas of the country have more mental health providers. And in a small town, sometimes you are the last bastion of hope that some of these people have.”
Romey said that she wants to help the local farming and ranching community as much as possible, and has designed the interior of the clinic to have a cowboy/western/ranch theme.
“My heart is with agricultural people because they rarely ask for help,” Romey said. “There is a ‘suck it up’ mentality among farmers and ranchers. We are trying to make our office a little more available for the agricultural community across the state. That’s why we call it ‘of South Dakota’ because we want to let people know that we are just not here, we are everywhere.”
Paula Zuccaro is a native of Wall and is a certified family nurse practitioner and adult mental health clinical nurse specialist. Zuccaro is a partner at Midwest Mental Health and provides virtual “tele-pysch” to South Dakotans who live elsewhere in the state. The clinic’s “tele-pysch” is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition to Hot Springs, Romey provides mental health services in Martin one day per week, and is also possibly expanding Midwest Mental Health’s services into Nebraska.
Romey made sure to point out that Midwest Mental Health is not only for those who work in agriculture.
“We are a collaborative, prescriptive practice, and employ evidenced-based therapies,” Romey said. “We also refer to appropriate entities if needed. There are many ways to reach out to us to set up an appointment. You can call, email, schedule an appointment online through the website, or just walk through the door.”
In addition to Romey and Zuccaro, Midwest Mental Health’s staff includes Cynthia Hughes, a licensed practical nurse, certified dementia practitioner, and a certified Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care trainer; Doctor of Pharmacy Suzanna Kopp; Jocelyn Johnson, human resources and communications; Amelia Spears, office manager; and Jacyne Romey, receptionist.
“We are here because we want to be here,” Romey said. “Hope has a lot to do with what we do here and I am a strong believer in the power of hope.”