At Community Health Partners (CHP), our dedicated health care providers make us who we are. As members and servants of their communities, each has a unique story behind their passion for helping others and their choice to join CHP. In this Provider Profile, we get to know Melissa Joecks, LCPC, a behavioral health provider in our West Yellowstone clinic.
Though she was raised on a dairy farm in Ohio, Melissa is a mountain person at heart. She and her husband moved to Montana when Melissa found her passion working for a wilderness therapy program outside of Bozeman. In 2011, Melissa began a relationship with CHP while working as a licensed counselor for one of its community partners, and in 2017, she joined the team at CHP in West Yellowstone.
The way I explain it to my 10-, 8-, 6-, and 3-year-olds is that I am someone who helps people work through things that happen, or feelings or thoughts that are bothering them, get to know themselves more, and find ways within and outside of themselves to take good care of their bodies, minds, and emotions.
I grew up on a farm thinking I wanted to be a veterinarian but realized it was people I wanted to help after taking a psychology class in college. Growing up in a rural area also gave me an interest in providing care in similar places. I had my own mental health struggles at times, which helped me develop deep compassion for others and recognize that asking for help is both challenging and important. My parents were consistent and community-focused, leading me to want to provide these same qualities in care for others. In my professional experiences, I’ve worked with people of all ages struggling with a variety of issues and in many settings, including the wilderness.
While working in partnership with CHP, I found the people I worked with to be compassionate and competent, with a like-minded focus on providing consistent care for people in a place with limited access to services.
When my clients at times thank me for listening to them, or when I can sense they feel heard and witnessed.
The obvious love for me is the natural world and finding rejuvenation in being outdoors, shared joy, and awe at God’s creation. I love that this community cares about and is invested in the well-being of others.
I run a program for parents/caregivers and their preschool children at my church, and our family tries to be present with the neighbors in our area to connect and help out in ways that care for and build a positive community.
My family and I find joy and awe in the vast array of familiar and new ways of exploring the outdoors around us. We love backpacking, hiking, camping, rafting, alpine and Nordic skiing, rock climbing, trail running, gardening, hot springs soaking, and bringing along family and friends who we love to have come visit. I enjoy following where my children’s curiosity leads and have a desire for lifelong learning. I also love to read to my kids outside in the sunshine in any season, or when I have the chance, read a book of my own choosing.