‘Helper Heidi’ Berr is an asset to the community


For 24 years, Heidi Berr, known affectionately as “Helper Heidi,” has been with a variety of psychological conditions out of her Montgomery Street office in Oceanside.

One of her areas of specialization is the treatment of anxiety and depression.

“Depression and anxiety are some of the most prevalent mental health problems out there,” said Berr, a licensed clinical social worker. “Without the right treatment, which includes psychotherapy and most of the time medication, people with depression and anxiety can’t reach their full potential but if they get the right treatment, they can live very fulfilling lives. So, it’s very satisfying to work with somebody long-term who say has bipolar disorder and build a trusting relationship and help him or her understand their triggers and coping skills.”

She says she has seen an uptick in cases, due to recent events.

“There’s always been a lot of anxiety, but in today’s world we see even more people with anxiety disorders,” Berr said. “Between the political differences, the increase in violence, the pandemic and worries about health and school shootings; all these things have triggered a tremendous amount of anxiety in both adults and children.”

She also enjoys working with children, as it allows her to embrace her creative side.

“Working with children is a whole other ball game all together,” Berr said. “You have to meet them at their level and you have to be really able to connect with them and use different modalities. You can’t sit and talk with a kid on the couch; you have to sit on the floor and pretend and play games and enter into their world. I’ve always had tremendous success with kids; I get referred to all the time. There are more kids that need treatment than there are therapists that are willing to treat them and do it well, so it’s a much needed area.”

She says that kids also face a unique set of issues.

“They can suffer from a range of issues including social anxiety, ADHD, trauma from losses or other traumatic situations in the family,” Berr said. “Kids have a lot of anxiety today between hearing things about school shootings, the war in Ukraine and the uncertainty of life and the anger that’s out there. These are things a lot of parents didn’t have to cope with growing up but their kids do and they need to have tools on how to handle this.”

But one group she has paid special attention to in recent years and is the subject of her new self-published book is “adult children.”

“I specialize in working with a lot of 20-somethings because I think it’s an area of so much growth and change,” Berr said. “There are so many things’ people in their twenties are trying to figure out regarding the rest of their lives like what career they’re going to be in and who to couple with and where to live. It’s an age where there can a lot of conflict and a tremendous amount of anxiety and sometimes depression. I also do a lot of work with parents of adult children too on how to forge positive relationships with their children in their twenties and thirties.”

The book titled “Building a Healthy, Rewarding Relationship with Your Adult Child” teaches parents new strategies and realistic expectations to achieve a healthy relationship. These include learning why their child may have different perspectives than their parents on almost everything, why they’re not reaching the same milestones as they did at their age and how to identify if their child is experiencing failure to launch and what they can do to help.

The book is now available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle formats.

Berr has been in full-time private since 1997. She was a staff therapist at Queens Child Guidance Center from 1990 to 1997, while also working as a parent trainer for the New York State Early Intervention Program from 1996 to 1998. She obtained her master’s degree in clinical social work in 1990 from the NYU School of Social Work, now called the Silver School of Social Work. In 2014 her clinical article entitled “Childhood Anxiety Disorder and Standardized Testing-Potential Links” was published in the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work’s monthly publication.

Her office is located at 256 Montgomery Ave., Oceanside.