Meet rural Nebraska's bright beacon

Meet northwest Nebraska’s bright beacon
for behavioral health.

  “Dr. Cate” is Nebraska’s rural behavioral health dynamo: Practitioner. Educator. Recruiter. Mentor. Advocate. Visionary. Photographer. Fundraiser.

Herself a native of rural Nebraska, she gets it.

She’s also a dynamo.

Driven. Passionate. Innovative. Creative. Energetic. Enthusiastic. Deeply committed to more and better behavioral health care for rural Nebraskans. Always excited to open the world of behavioral health careers to young students.

Meet psychologist Catherine Jones-Hazledine, PhD — or simply “Dr. Cate” as she is widely known. In many ways, she is a bright beacon — and a tireless champion for advancing mental health in rural Nebraska.

Vast impact on northwest Nebraska.

  • In care-starved northwest Nebraska, she greatly expands access to care through her network of community clinics.
  • She introduces high school students to behavioral health careers through her summer FARM-CAMP program.
  • Her striking photographs of rural Nebraska help fund her student camp activities.
  • She’s an educator — an adjunct faculty member in Chadron State College’s Counseling, Psychology and Social Work program.
  • She mentors new clinicians-in-training: her clinics are an internship and practicum site for Chadron State students.
  • She’s a frequent advocate — through community presentations and training on a variety of topics, including in-service sessions for early childhood workers and area school staffs.

Dr. Cate trained at the University of Chicago and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then served as assistant professor at UNMC’s Munroe-Meyer Institute before forming Western Nebraska Behavioral Health, an associated clinic with MMI.

A model five-clinic network.

She formed her innovative clinic network in August 2011. She and her team of clinicians bring care across Northwest Nebraska — traveling to clinic sites in Alliance, Chadron, Crawford, Gordon and Rushville.

Her clinic network is a model for both rural and urban behavioral health care. Offices are intentionally located within primary care medical settings.

That offers three advantages for residents.

  1. People already know to visit these offices for health care.
  2. Primary care and behavioral care providers can collaborate on the patient’s total health — physical, mental and emotional — all closely interrelated.
  3. Being located in a medical care environment helps to reduce misunderstanding and reluctance to seek behavioral health care.

Patrick Waugh is one of many students from Chadron State College’s Community Counseling Program who do their practicums and internships at Dr. Cate’s clinics.

Despite how many people are affected, misperception and stigma persist about mental disorders, especially in rural areas.

Combining physical and mental health services in the same setting mainstreams the process. People learn that the two are inseparably linked, that both are crucial to well being. That major depression, for example, needs prompt treatment just like a broken arm.

Rushville’s FARM CAMP:
High school students learn about behavioral health careers.

Dr. Cate created FARM CAMP (Frontier Area Rural Mental-Health Camp And Mentorship Program) to introduce high schools students to behavioral health professions — and how they serve Nebraska’s rural, or ‘frontier,’ areas, meaning fewer than seven residents per square mile.

At a weeklong summer camp in Rushville, students meet behavioral health professionals from various disciplines and learn first-hand about their work. They also take a class on psychology, mental health and ethics — for which they can receive college credit. Following camp, mentors stay in touch with students to feed and guide their interests.

Dr. Cate’s camp, partly funded by BHECN, is intended not just to attract more behavioral health care providers but also expressly to keep practitioners in service to rural Nebraska residents. More on FARM CAMP.

Dr. Cate’s canvas-print photos: creative camp fundraising.

Dr. Cate’s interests include photography, and she loves shooting signature scenes of rural Nebraska. She sells striking canvas-print photos to raise money for FARM CAMP. More. See and buy photos. Check out her other collectibles.

Canvas-print photos by Catherine Jones-Hazledine raise funds for FARM CAMP.

More on Dr. Cate and her team at Western Nebraska Behavioral Health