Refuge, Hope and Healing at Shelterhouse in Midland and Gladwin
If you or someone you know needs help, call the crisis hotline open 24/7 at 877-216-6383.
“Mental health, we don’t talk about anxiety and depression, and how all the things can correlate.”
“It can be really scary making the call and asking for help.”
Amy MacDonald is the Director of Counseling Services and a Certified Therapist and sex educator.
Alison Baldree is the Director of Fund Development, and are part of the Shelterhouse in Midland.
MacDonald says, “Shelterhouse is a domestic violence and sexual assault service agency. It’s our mission to empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence by providing refuge, hope and healing.”
The agency has been helping individuals for over 45 years.
“One thing that we’re best known for is we have an emergency shelter for those that are fleeing their situations,” says Baldree.
They also do so much more than provide shelter.
MacDonald says, “If you don’t need to stay here, and you’re still dealing with trauma, there are so many opportunities and things that we have here. We have a counseling department with weekly sessions at no cost. We also have something called Intersections which is one of the only LGBTQ groups in the state that are focusing on ‘DV’ ‘SA’ survivors. We have a teen group and an adult group.”
Baldree says, “We have an entire counseling wing that can help people heal from the impacts of trauma, and we support people with court services. We also have a SANE Program. And SANE stands for sexual assault nurse examinations. And that’s for when someone has been sexually assaulted, they can come in and get an exam.
Alison, Amy, and the team at Shelterhouse wants the community to know that this is a safe haven.
“Peoples safety is incredibly important and Shelterhouse takes confidentiality very seriously. It’s the survivor’s choice to engage, and we support them and hold their hand and we let them know what your options are” says Baldree.
MacDonald adds, “Safety to be all of your whole self. You’re not just a survivor of DV or SA, you’re not just gay or transgender. All of these intersections come to play and your safe to express them all.”
Oftentimes seeking help for oneself is pushed to the side, especially if little ones are involved.
But Shelterhouse makes sure everyone is welcome.
Baldree says, “Sometimes parents are like, well I can’t help myself because I don’t have anybody to watch the kids. If you’re coming into therapy and you have a child, you can let us know and we’ll make sure that your child has childcare while you’re in session.”
And it’s never too late to ask for help and start your healing journey.
“It is never the victim’s fault of what happened to them. That’s a huge part of the healing journey is for them to really know and understand that deeply, and to know that they are so worthy of love and respect and joy in life,” says Baldree.
It is never your fault. Talking about these issues openly will help end the stigma and shame associated with domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Those who’ve worked through their trauma and understand their trauma story, understand their triggers, are able to cope better and function better” says Baldree.
MacDonald says, “We have a 24/7 hotline that even if someone has made the decision and they’re ready to get out of their situation, or if they just have questions, that they can call. There is a real life beautiful, non-judgment human on the other side of that line ready to take their call.”