Psychiatrist Annmarie McDonagh, MD, loves talking in depth with people about what’s troubling them.
“I’m tremendously interested in what makes people tick and trying to help alleviate psychiatric distress,” said Dr. McDonagh, who joined Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Psychiatry and Counseling medical team in July.
With high demand for more mental health services in the area, Dr. McDonagh is excited to provide a much-needed service and help as many people as she can. She comes to the community with 28 years of experience in caring for people with a wide array of mental health concerns, most recently from her private practice in Lebanon, NH.
Dr. McDonagh grew up in suburban Boston as one of six children born to Irish immigrant parents. “My generation was the first to go to college,” she said. “My parents are extremely proud that all six children earned college degrees.” However, psychiatry wasn’t her initial career path. She taught science for two years at a private girls high school, after graduating from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MS, with dual degrees in English literature and biology/pre-med.
Remembering her initial interest in medicine, she decided to enroll in the University of Massachusetts Medical School with thoughts of becoming a family practitioner. She started thinking about psychiatry for the first time during her psychiatry rotation in her third year of medical school. “I found that talking with people about their internal life and their symptoms came very naturally to me, and I was very comfortable working with people with psychiatric illness,” she said. “I also found that it’s a field that combines my interests in literature with medicine because great authors tend to be great psychologists, and I learned a lot about psychology from reading great literature.”
Dr. McDonagh then completed a four-year residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, followed by a three-year fellowship in post traumatic stress disorder at the National Center for PTSD in White River Junction, VT. During her fellowship, she conducted research on PTSD related to childhood sexual abuse.
Dr. McDonagh also became a mother to three sons during that time and cared for people at a community mental health center in Claremont, NH, for 11 years. “It was a very busy time in my life,” she said. While she was there, she gained vast experience caring with people with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and those who met the criteria for being severely and persistently mentally ill. In 2005, she opened a solo private practice treating people from age 16 to the elderly for any psychiatric condition.
After 13 years in private practice and with her sons away at college, Dr. McDonagh decided it would be a great time to expand her horizons. “I’m excited to have moved to the Midwest and to help provide more mental health services to this area,” she said.
“I love what I do and I love talking to people about taking a more holistic approach to their problems,” she added. “While I don’t do formal psychotherapy on most of my patients, every session involves some psychotherapy where we talk about things that are going on in their lives and things they might need to address or change in order for them to get well again. Sometimes it’s not as simple as adding a medication. I feel like I really get to know people in a meaningful way.”
For more information, call SBL Psychiatry and Counseling at 217 258-4042, or for an appointment with Dr. McDonaugh, ask your medical provider for a referral. Her office is located in Prairie Pavilion 1, Suite 101 at Sarah Bush Lincoln.