Addressing Mental Wellbeing
Two mental health care providers share their journey, passion for helping others
Mental health care became even more critical in 2020 and will continue to be important in 2021. We’ve worried about the pandemic and dealt with isolation. We’ve struggled with job and food insecurities. And, the trauma of years of racial injustices has heightened depression and anxiety. We’re stressed and it’s showing.
There is a group of women leading Wilmington Mental Health, all with a passion for helping others.
Wilmington Mental Health, which provides outpatient treatment services treating a range of emotional and behavioral issues through counseling, focusing on symptom reduction and personal development, recently hired five female providers.
HAVVAH HENZLER is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed clinical addiction specialist. SARAH MOORING is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, a licensed clinical addiction specialist, and a clinical supervisor intern.
Both women say we should take care of mental health like we take care of our physical health, through regular maintenance.
Mooring says to consider therapy proactively, “You have routine checkups at the doctor. Your mental health is just as important.”
Henzler adds that therapy should be considered when something is affecting all aspects of your life. “You can’t get over something after spending hours, days, months thinking about it; when you feel desperate, like you can’t go on and you have no support.”
Henzler is from Mexico City where she attended a French high school. She studied culture, philosophy, and French for business at Paris-Sorbonne University. She returned to Mexico City to complete her degree in international business. Henzler moved to Wilmington in 2003 and settled in the community, working for the local Latino newspaper and volunteering.
“I began to see a need to work with youth and advocate for minorities,” Henzler says. “Growing up seeing kids on the streets in Mexico City was heartbreaking.” She completed a StarNews minority leadership class where she met the director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) who invited Henzler to work with them.
After her first year, Henzler realized her passion was to work with families. She earned her master’s degree in social work with a specialty in substance use disorders from East Carolina University.
Going into college, Mooring was an elementary education major. Her major and career path changed after watching an uncle who suffered from mental health issues and addiction pass away.
“I always had an interest in helping people and losing the stigma of addiction and mental health,” Mooring says.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling with a minor in drug and alcohol studies from East Carolina University. She then completed dual master’s degrees in substance abuse and clinical counseling and rehabilitation counseling from ECU.
Mooring’s specialty is biofeedback and exploring how the body’s physiology responds to its state of mind. She also uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that combines strategies like mindfulness, acceptance, and emotion regulation.
Mooring also encourages journaling and uses homework assignments to help individuals tear down distorted thinking patterns and build back more effective thinking.
“Through thought recording, we look at more effective thinking skills that produce better emotional outcomes,” Mooring says. “We’re challenging core beliefs and tearing down shame.”
Of her work, Mooring says, “It’s rewarding to listen to pain and help people overcome it. They become healthier, get well, and get sober.”
Henzler’s specialties are trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, parent and child interactive therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress.
“It helps desensitize traumatic memories and the sensations that disturb the individual,” Henzler says. “Flashbacks begin to diminish. People then can say, ‘I remember the incident, but I’m not disturbed anymore.’”
Of her work, Henzler says she enjoys seeing people overcome tough situations, especially trauma. “Using therapies like EMDR, people can think of the trauma without getting emotionally disturbed. They can sleep without drugs or alcohol. Families can come together again.”
“2020 has forced people to focus on acceptance,” Mooring says. “2020 has shown us we are vulnerable. We’re realizing the value of yourself and your relationships – that things aren’t important.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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