Parenting in a Pandemic leads off a new free lecture series

Licensed psychologists Ann Date and her husband, Tom Olson, initially saw a decrease in referrals at their practice the first couple of months after the pandemic hit, but now they’re back to pre-COVID numbers. They’ve noticed a slight uptick in anxiety in clients and Date says they may be seeing more crisis calls.


Their clients are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a survey conducted in late June found that adults were experiencing “elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.” Younger adults, people of color, essential workers, and adult caregivers were disproportionately affected with worse mental health outcomes, increased substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.


To address the need, Date says, “We also wanted to offer lectures during COVID about what people are experiencing.”


Midland-based Partners in Change: Psychological & Community Services is launching a free virtual public lecture series on mental health starting in November. Date says they are offering the series because, “The more people understand about mental health, the more likely they’ll seek help not just from therapists, but from family and friends, too.”


The monthly series will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. The topic “Self Compassion & Parenting in a Pandemic” will be presented by Nicole Rickard, MA, PLC. The lectures will be offered monthly through next September. Subjects of future lectures include Normal Reactions to Abnormal Situations and Strategies to Reduce Anxiety and Increase Well-Being. The presenters will appear on-screen and share information through slides. To sign up, go to

their website or call 989-832-2165.

Founded 20 years ago, Partners in Change has 29 clinical and eight administrative staff members serving offices in Midland and Mt. Pleasant. Date and Olson also mentor three doctoral students for a year.


Date is a member of the Mental Health Services and Gaps Committee, which was formed over four years ago by the Midland County Health and Human Services Council after the Council determined the subject of mental health needed more attention. In 2016, a survey of teenagers in Midland County revealed a significant number of teens, about 800, had either attempted or considered suicide. There were also concerns about mental health disorders in persons in the county’s jail population and criminal justice system.


The committee’s initiatives have included the formation of the Mental Health Court in Midland County, which features features mental health assessment and treatment for offenders; CIT, Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers to help them better engage with persons in crisis; and the launch of the Hope Portal website where people can go to find mental health services. Partners in Change is offering Mindfulness training in area schools. Mindfulness encourages a person to focus on and engage with what’s happening right now.


"We love our community and throughout the years have engaged in community service,” says Date.


Date first worked in business, overseeing several convenience stores in Texas but after the birth of her son in 1987, Date says, “I saw the importance of having a job I enjoyed, so I went back to school to become a clinical psychologist.” She says her reward is “Seeing people change and reach their potential. We serve clients of all ages with a variety of mental health issues. Our clinicians are fully engaged, they’re passionate, and they use science to assist our clients.”

Read more articles by Ron Beacom.

Ron Beacom is a communications professional and managing editor of Catalyst Midland. He's currently a freelance writer for the Midland Daily News and the producer/host of "Second Act: Life at 50 Plus" for WDCQ-Delta College Public Media (PBS). He was the co-producer on the WDCQ documentary "Breached! The Tittabawassee River Disaster."
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