News Article Details

Yolanda Hunter focuses on mental health through new practice

Times West Virginian - 3/10/2019

March 10-- Mar. 10--FAIRMONT -- Yolanda and Kenneth Hunter work daily to maintain the mental health of their family.

Particularly, the couple is familiar with the effects of AD/HD and of autism, as they are conditions which they have a personal connection to.

"I have a daughter that is autistic and a daughter that has AD/HD and I myself have AD/HD," Yolanda said. "It is a passion of mine because these kids and adults struggle a lot, and there are not a lot of resources in this state for parents that need help."

After years of training and learning to become a nurse, Yolanda now works as a psychiatric nurse at for her own practice, Solace, which she runs with her husband Kenneth. Through the practice, she hopes to be a resource for these individuals and their families, as she is familiar with the trials and tribulations they go through in their lives.

"It is for mental health and counseling," Yolanda said. "I see everybody but my specialty is kids and adults with AD/HD and/or autism, which is my passion."

Yolanda explained that she is able to provide psychiatric services for a number of behavioral subjects, from the aforementioned autism and AD/HD to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which she also has experience with from her time serving in the Navy. She also has experience working with individuals in hospice care, as she has worked as a hospice nurse in the Fairmont area as well.

Having this experience working with others, coupled with her own experience of living with AD/HD, Yolanda explained how these conditions affect individuals, and how she will be able to help them through her new practice.

"People with these type of conditions struggle to find a place to fit," Yolanda said. "We struggle to be in a place that is now natural to our brains. With the way our brain works, it may be a struggle for structure if it's created for you rather than you being able to create it.

"We focus not only just on medication management but focus on looking at diet, how people sleep; looking at life circumstances in general."

Yolanda hopes to provide that structure needed for some to cope with certain symptoms, which could manifest as anxiety or depression depending on the person. The interior of the Adams Street office provides a comfortable environment to visitors, complete with cushioned chairs, a soft rug and a calming blue paint job to create that atmosphere. Planning to treat kids and adults alike means Yolanda has to be prepared for any visitor who comes through the doors.

"We do a combination of things that benefit the whole person," she said. "It can be hard to open up about anything personal in that environment, so if you want to come in here and sit on the floor I'll sit on the floor with you.

"We want to be able to make sure that they're safe, you can't get anything else if your safety needs are not met first."

According to Yolanda, the issues that exist within the mind can be damaging to a person as a whole, especially if these issues go untreated or even unchecked for a time in a person's life. She wants to assure individuals that having these feelings is alright, but there is help to make them more manageable in the long run.

In actuality, it was her time in the military which originally led Yolanda to follow this path of mental health aid, as explained by Kenneth, who met her in the Navy.

"She had been a hospital corpsman in the Navy," said Kenneth, who serves as the practice's Chief of Operations. "That propelled her into going back to school and getting a nursing license."

Advocating for mental health awareness is also a goal of Yolanda's, as she hopes to get rid of any stigma that comes with having mental health problems, or even in getting help to solve those problems.

"It could be that people don't understand the treatments that are available," she said. "I get both sides of it, the clinician piece and also the parent piece, and also the client piece of having the disorder, and all of these things can run together."

For Yolanda, being able to perform her passion in an environment she creates herself is a dream come true, as she also gets to provide health-improving services to people in the area, who may otherwise not know where to turn with their conditions.

"I love nursing, I love being a nurse," Yolanda said. "This is a way for me to be able to structure things in a way that makes sense to me number one, and be able to expound upon the help that I know I'm capable of giving to the community, and it's so sorely needed."

Solace is located at 201 Adams Street in Fairmont and can be reached by phone at 304-534-8582, or online at www.solacebehavioralservices.com for information, or to make an appointment. Yolanda also added that the practice takes most kinds of medical insurance for checkups.

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

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(c)2019 the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.)

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