Help with health

Lilly Weegman, Writer

With a global pandemic, health care has never seemed as important as it does right now. With COVID-19 and Influenza outbreaks, the waiting rooms are filled. While Health is an important topic in today’s society, it is not talked about enough. Although teens are often young and healthy, the subject of teen health is often seen as taboo and frequently goes untalked about. Teens may have medical-related questions regarding mental health, addiction and sexual activity. With health being seen as a sensitive topic, teens go into the world not knowing what resources are out there to educate them and keep them safe. Especially when it comes to sexual health, the only real resource that students have is their required health class. 

The Owatonna Center Clinic office is located in the same building as the Free Clinic of Steele County, on 134 Southview Street. The Center Clinic is a free clinic much like the Free Clinic of Steele County but the Center clinic offers more services concerning reproductive health. Though the clinic just opened in early March, it is not new to town. The clinic was open for a year and a half before they had to temporarily close in the summer due to issues with staffing and building projects. With limited walk-in appointments only on Wednesdays from 1-4:30 p.m. the hours of the clinic are currently very limited. Though they do also take scheduled appointments. They are hoping to expand their available hours when more people start to come in for their services.

The clinic is run by volunteers and a few paid staff members, as it is a non-profit clinic focused on giving people the help they need. Employees at the clinic do what they can to be inclusive for everyone so they always have translators in the building, to make the process easier for the patients who may not speak English. 

The two locations in Dodge Center do offer the full range of health services of different types, but the Owatonna location is mainly focused on Physical Health. Services are free and confidential between patients and doctors. Co-founder and director of the clinic Jan Leuth said, “[Patients] don’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay for it, they don’t have to worry about anything getting sent home to their parents.” Though any services and information are kept confidential, the staff of the clinic are mandated reporters and are required to take necessary actions if a patient is going to hurt themself, someone else or if someone else is going to hurt them. 

When it comes to awareness of the clinic, it is mostly discovered by word of mouth. Around town there are posters put up to advertise the clinic, but not much else is currently being done to advertise their existence in town. Leuth is currently looking for someone to come in as an intern who is good with social media to help advertise. This position is open to high school students who may be interested, and they are open to any opinions that can help them improve their advertising methods. Leuth hopes that local teens will learn about the clinic and spread the word for those who need to know about it.  OHS senior Jessy Kasfeldt said, “It will be helpful for teens who are in need of help, but want to be discreet about it, and don’t want their parents to find out.” 

Teen Health is an important subject in our society that needs more awareness. It is important to be educated so teens can be safe and healthy. If anyone needs to make an appointment, ask a question or is interested in taking the social media intern position the clinic can be contacted via phone number: 507-633-9200 or email: [email protected].