The Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) is a national evidence-based program for late-life depression.  Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, VINE Faith in Action began offering PEARLS in early 2021 to people 60 and older living in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur Counties. Now the program is funded through a grant from the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) and is expanding to include Watonwan County.

Last year, a spokesperson from the Watonwan County Local Advisory Council on Mental Health reached out to VINE’s PEARLS Coach, Glenda Becthold, about the possibility of expanding into their county where they were noticing a need for older adult mental health care. Becthold said she shared the request with MNRAAA who happily agreed to help fund the expansion which began earlier this month.

PEARLS provides confidential high-quality mental health care for those who want to improve the way they feel. Working with a PEARLS Coach, participants create personalized problem-solving plans, which include life-enrichment activities.

So far, nearly 50 people have graduated from PEARLS. A recent graduate of the program said, “Before PEARLS, I was feeling a lack of direction in my life. I needed help moving forward. Each session helped me focus and work on goals in small steps to create improvement.”

PEARLS session costs $5 each and usually consists of 6-8 sessions over several months. Meetings can take place at VINE, virtually or at the individual’s home. Those interested in learning more about PEARLS can visit vinevolunteers.org or call Glenda at (507) 386-5571.