Community members now have improved access to mental health care close to home. CHI St. Gabriel’s Health and Family Medical Center’s (FMC) newest provider, Barbara Frey-Brown, APRN, CNP, a certified psychiatric nurse practitioner, joined the local medical community on October 3. She brings her passion for people and a holistic approach to health to the residents of Morrison County.
Frey-Brown has deep roots in Morrison County. She grew up on a farm in rural Randall and is a graduate of Little Falls Community High School. During high school, she worked as a nurse’s aide at St. Gabriel’s Hospital, alongside Sister Juanita Mauer. Inspired to continue on the journey to care for others, she went on to become a registered nurse and worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd from 1987-2011. In May, 2011, she graduated from the master’s program at the College of St. Scholastica as a family practice nurse practitioner. She completed her primary care clinical hours at Family Medical Center locations in Little Falls and Pierz.
Seeing a great need for mental health services in rural communities prompted Frey-Brown to obtain a nurse practitioner psychiatric certificate in 2013 from the College of St. Scholastica. This certification allows the provision of a wide range of mental health services to patients, including diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Frey-Brown worked at the Essentia Baxter Urgent Care and Convenient Care clinic from 2011-2013. In 2013, she began providing psychiatric care as a hospitalist for the inpatient Grace Unit at Essentia St. Joseph’s Medical Center as well as outpatient psychiatric care. Since 2006, she has spent time each summer working with individuals with Down Syndrome and adults with mental illness at Camp Knutson in Cross Lake.
Family Medical Center’s focus on patient-centered care aligns well with Frey-Brown’s philosophy of care. “Our mental health impacts our physical health,” she says. “I approach care holistically and focus treatment on the needs of the whole person, rather than treating solely on the patient’s diagnosis.”
Frey-Brown’s community-level vision for mental health care includes the promotion of overall healthy behaviors, education to develop healthy skills to cope with stress, and removal of the stigmas that surround mental health conditions. She is excited to provide care to the residents of Morrison County.
“I love people and I love what I do,” says Frey-Brown. “It is an honor to walk with people through their journey.”
Frey-Brown and her husband, David, have three adult daughters. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors, including biking, hiking, and gardening.
Frey-Brown and staff have created a welcoming and peaceful clinic exam room environment to help patients feel right at home. She sees patients eight years of age and older. Appointments with Frey-Brown can be made by calling the FMC appointment line at (320) 631-7000.