MILTON — The mother and son team of Alesia and Brian Willis have taken their passion for helping those with mental health issues and family and marriage counseling needs and set up shop in the small town of Milton.

Santa Rosa Counseling Center opened earlier this month in the old Country Market Store on Berry Road and Jones Street. The practice was started in 2007 by Alesia Wells, a licensed marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor. She said it was a "dream come true" for her.

"It's not just for me, it's a dream come true for the community," she said.

Alesia said she has a passion to help families become healthier, happier, and more compatible. She said they are committed to making sure the community feels their passion as they open their new psychiatric offices for medication management.

"Santa Rosa Counseling Center has been conceptualized in my heart for decades," she said. "We are blessed that we have been able to continue expanding our provision of services for our community. Access to care should be easier and more efficient."

Brian specializes in working with relationship problems, conflict resolution, communication skills, parenting skills, and mood disorders. He said they had purchased the property, which is located next to their main office, and have been renovating it for their new clinic.

"It is an absolute blessing to have the opportunity to provide jobs to some of the best clinicians and support staff in this area," Brian said. "Our daily goal is to ensure we are providing the strongest collaborative mental health care for our community. Not only do we all strive to provide compassionate and helpful care, we hope that our clients trust that we have hosted them well after each and every visit."

He said their facility offers a wide range of services including psychiatric evaluation and therapy, child therapy, individual adult therapy, substance abuse therapy, and professional services including custody evaluation.

Brian said one reason they decided to open in Milton was due to the fact that Santa Rosa County is a designated as a mental health professional shortage area.

"Santa Rosa Counseling Center has spent several years working with the state of Florida and the National Health Service Corps to receive the designation as a Critical Need Site," he said. "With these designations, we have been able to offer our serving clinicians the opportunity to apply and receive student loan reimbursement of up to $75,000."

Santa Rosa Counseling Center's offices are located on 5642 Jones Street and 5441 Berryhill Road. They can be reached at 850-626-7779.