Sun Sailor introduces Birch Counseling Walk-In

Birch Counseling in Hopkins offers same-day, walk-in mental health counseling

By Kristen Miller

To address the lack of immediate mental health counseling options in the Twin Cities, Birch Counseling has opened a dedicated same-day, walk-in clinic at 904 Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins.

“What we are offering is akin to urgent care for mental health,” explains Christa Surerus, licensed professional clinical counselor.

She and her husband, James Mallon, also a licensed mental health counselor, operate three other Birch Counseling locations with an office in Golden Valley and two offices in Minneapolis.

However, they wanted to provide greater flexibility and accessibility for those in crisis.

“Currently, it takes about three weeks to get into Golden Valley, and that’s very common with just about any counseling service,” Surerus said

“Up until now, if someone was experiencing a mental health crisis, that person would have to choose between scheduling an appointment for a later date, which could be days or weeks away, or going to an emergency room, which is really meant for life-threatening situations,” she said. “We are filling in that gap for when those unexpected issues in life become too much.”

They have seen that the demand for care, having witnessed people walking through closed-door sessions in order to be seen, and decided they needed to do something about it by making mental health care more readily available.

With 12 offices, people can walk in and expect to be seen that same day.

“There are so many people who are dealing with these sorts of traumatic situations that can come up very suddenly,” Mallon said. “We are here for them today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today.”

The most important reason they opened the walk-in clinic is to help combat the rising number of suicides in Minnesota.

“As you may know, suicide rates around the country have been going up, and Minnesota is one of the top gainers,” Surerus said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the suicide rate has increased 53 percent from 1999-2017.

Surerus also noted that 85% of males who die by suicide have no known mental health condition, “which means they never sought professional help,” she said. Completed suicides by females are also on the rise, she said.

“It is our goal to offer a safe place for individuals, families and couples to get the support they need by helping them calm and stabilize sufficiently to problem solve life challenges,” she said.

Birch Counseling also has the capacity to grow and expand its hours.

Currently, they are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with hopes of offering evening and weekends hours in the fall.

They accept all major insurance, medical assistance and out-of-pocket payments.

To make an appointment, call 952-562-4116 or visit

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Twinc Cities Business Magazine features Birch Counseling Walk-In Clinic


Birch Counseling Launches Walk-in Mental Health Clinic

Owner Christa Surerus sees it as ‘urgent care’ for mental health crises.

MAY 23, 2019


Birch Counseling last week opened a walk-in mental health clinic in Hopkins. 

The clinic is intended to address mental health issues on a quicker time frame than traditional therapy. 

Before the clinic’s opening, Birch Counseling providers had been struggling to meet increasing demands for services, says owner Christa Surerus.

At the company’s Golden Valley clinic, for instance, every provider has a three-week waitlist.

“It is quite frankly difficult to keep up with demand,” Surerus says. “We noticed there’s a huge gap in our community between what people need and what’s actually offered as far as mental health services.”

The clinic is aimed at serving folks “whose worlds have fallen apart,” she says. That could include people who have just lost a job or received a dire health diagnosis.

Surerus sees her clinic as a sort of “urgent care” for mental health crises. She believes it's the only clinic of its kind in Minnesota.

The clinic accepts all forms of major insurance, though it doesn’t yet have a contract with Medicare, according to Surerus.

For those who want to pay for services out of pocket, the cost is $120 to see a licensed provider. For $95, clients also can opt to see providers working toward licensure.

Mental health issues and suicidal behavior often go hand-in-hand, according to Surerus. What’s more, the uptick in demand for more services locally is emblematic of larger issues brewing across the nation. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, marking a 25 percent increase since 1999.


Minneapolis and St. Paul Business Journal features Birch Counseling Walk-In

By Alex Wittenberg  – Staff writer, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal 

May 29, 2019, 2:58pm EDT

People in the Twin Cities suffering from a mental health-related condition have a new option for treatment. 

Birch Counseling on May 15 opened a walk-in mental health clinic in Hopkins that provides same-day counseling services to patients. The service, the first of its kind in the Twin Cities, according to Birch, hopes to make mental health treatment more accessible. 

"Our clinic in Golden Valley has a three-week waitlist, and that's just not good enough," said Christa Surerus, founder and owner of Birch Counseling. "People are calling in with very urgent needs, and they can't wait even a week to be seen. We're trying to close that gap."

The clinic, located at 904 Main St. in Hopkins, has four dedicated counselors on staff. As demand for the service increases, Birch plans to have as many as 40 staff members working extended hours at the clinic, Surerus said. 

Surerus expects the clinic to treat people who feel overwhelmed by grief, sadness or worry. One recent patient was a woman who was struggling going about daily life after the death of her partner. Other patients, for example, may feel unsettled over job and housing precarity or a serious health diagnosis they have to share with their family, Surerus said. 

"We wanted to make it accessible in the terminology we use," she said. "Very rarely do people wake up at 3 a.m. and say, 'Oh my god, I need to see someone, I have anxiety.' Most of they time they don't know they have anxiety. They just know they're worried." 

Birch works with most major insurance plans. The out-of-pocket cost for an appointment with a licensed counselor at the new clinic is $120.