Grays Counseling Photo

Annie Dalton-Gray, right, has operated Gray’s Counseling Services in Calhoun nearly 5 years. Along with therapist Mackenzie Williams, left, the two of them have seen more than 800 patients since the office opened.

As Gray’s Counseling Services in Calhoun reaches its five-year anniversary next month, owner and therapist Annie Gray-Dalton said she is blessed with her business’ success in McLean County.

Gray-Dalton bought her location on Main Street in Calhoun and started her business nearly five years ago, however, she has been in counseling and therapy for around 13 years. She began her career working in child protective services prior to therapy, where she said she really began to understand the need in the region for mental health services.

“These families and children needed mental health services … however the services were not available locally, so I knew the constraints people were up against with transportation and finances and it always kind of hit me in the gut that they needed things that they couldn’t access,” she said. “That really kind of hit home and made me want to put the office in the county in which I was raised and graduated from and so we did and it’s been successful.”

Gray-Dalton has another therapist working in her office as well, Mackenzie Williams who has been with the offices for four of its five years. Both of them, she said, grew up in McLean. She said between the two of them, they typically see around 20-30 clients a week.

“I took a blind leap of faith. Starting a business is a scary thing, regardless of what it is even if it’s something that is very much needed,” she said. “It took off like wildfire. We were blessed that it went so well.’

COVID-19, however, has made a fairly large impact on the service. Gray-Dalton said that while the office has begun offering tele-health services to individuals during the pandemic, it comes with its own set of pros and cons.

In April, she said the office started only doing tele-health appointments, not re-opening the office for in-person visits until June.

While tele-health allows easier access for clients who live in other surrounding counties and Indiana, it is difficult for local residents who are living in rural areas and do not have accessible internet service.

Additionally, many insurances do not typically cover tele-health, but have temporarily covered it during COVID-19, so Gray-Dalton said she is unsure whether Gray’s Counseling Services will continue offering it later down the road.

“If you don’t have service in the area that you’re living, you can’t really access this service … and so that was a big barrier and that was very difficult because this has been an extremely difficult time on all,” she said. “Human beings are social creatures and when we are stuck in our homes … it took a toll on a lot of people and we saw people accessing services that they had not prior.”

Gray’s Counseling Services sees clients of all ages and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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