Sarah Bush Lincoln Welcomes Child Psychiatrist

August 23, 2012 4:12 p.m.

Sarah Bush Lincoln is pleased to welcome Child Psychiatrist Katie Hecksel, MD, to its medical staff.

She comes to the community after recently completing residency and fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She cares for people at Family Medical Center in Mattoon and fulfills a need for increased mental health services for children and adolescents in our community.

Growing up in Lansing, Michigan, Dr. Hecksel earned degrees in both psychology and interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences from Michigan State University in 2001. During college, she spent four years working as a group facilitator for grieving children and adolescents and started a program that provided psychosocial support to the siblings of children with cancer. Prior to entering medical school, she spent four months backpacking alone through countries including Guatemala, Thailand, Indonesia, Italy and Greece, leaving shortly after the 9/11 tragedy in New York.

Entering the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, when she returned, Dr. Hecksel admits the transition to medical school wasn’t easy. However, she persevered with top quality training and was exposed to phenomenal physicians and resources. She completed one of her medical school rotations in Tanzania, Africa.

Graduating in 2007, Dr. Hecksel began her residency at the University of Michigan though she later transferred to the University of Minnesota. Moonlighting as a resident, she gained experience working with veterans, children and adults with eating disorders and people with sexuality and gender struggles.

As a child psychiatrist, Dr. Hecksel aims to provide compassion along with an individualized treatment plan to children and adolescents battling mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and others. Her philosophy is to spend time getting to know the child and his or her family to identify the key issues at hand, and to help form a unique treatment plan that will promote emotional wellness. “I feel privileged to walk with people during their private struggles and to help them find the tools, such as medications, therapy, physical activity and meditation, to improve their quality of life and functioning,” she said.

She explained that children differ from adults in that they experience continued brain development and maturation during their struggles with mental illness. Her goal is to facilitate better communication with parents, primary care providers, teachers and school personnel to reduce the stigma frequently surrounding mental illness and to help identify the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses. By addressing these difficulties early on, children can achieve their maximum potential for success, she said.

In addition to providing direct care to children and adolescents, Dr. Hecksel has a strong interest in women’s mental health issues (including mental health during and after pregnancy), college student mental health and mental health concerns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and adults.

To make an appointment with Dr. Hecksel ask for a referral from your primary care provider. She is located at Family Medical Center, 200 Richmond Ave. East, Mattoon.

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