News Article Details

Mental health center gears up for opening day

Record Searchlight - 3/11/2017

March 10--In downtown Redding, across the street from the shuttered Redding Inn, staff members of a new mental health center meet to discuss outreach in the community before the official opening of the center.

The Community Mental Health Resource Center will provide after-hour access to licensed mental health personnel and other services. Each client who walks into the Gold Street center will be assessed by licensed clinicians and staff will develop a treatment plan. Those plans could range from long-term case management to a place for someone to talk for the evening. Families of clients can also enroll in support groups and the center will also host events for teens in foster care and and foster parents.

The company contracted by Shasta County to operate the center, Hill Country Health and Wellness Center, aims to alleviate overcrowding in emergency rooms, where patients looking for immediate mental health treatment often end up.

Site Director Amy McCune says staff members began training at the Gold Street center on March 1, but Hill Country has been preparing since last year after it was selected by the county's Health and Human Services Agency to operate the center.

While the doors were not officially open at the Gold Street location, staff members received their first patient on March 2.

"We provided the best care we could that day, because even though we were not officially open, we could not turn anyone away," McCune said.

The center's official opening is Sunday. It will be open 2 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends and holidays.

A rotating roster of care managers will meet with patients throughout the week at the center.

The center will focus on three areas: providing support for foster parents and children; after-hour access to licensed mental health professionals; and case management for Laura's Law, a state law that allows for court-ordered outpatient treatment for those with mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness will host support groups for family members of patients.

Following a model set by a similar facility in Round Mountain, the Redding center will be a blend of a community and counseling center.

That holistic method is what makes Hill Country's approach to mental health care so inviting to families and patients, said Shasta County NAMI President Susan Power.

"The more a family is involved, the better the chances of full recovery," Power said. "Recovery is absolutely possible. There are so many people with mental illness who are living in recovery."

Hill Country will partner with Shasta County's Health and Human Services Agency for a three-year pilot period. Hill Country's contract with the county was approved late last month for $4 million. Over those three years, Hill Country will gather data on the care center's work and impact to the community. HHSA will measure the number of mental health calls at local emergency rooms.

Several local agencies will partner with the center, including the Empire Recovery Center, Northern Valley Catholic Social Service and the Good News Rescue Mission.

Executive Director Marjeanne Stone at Empire Recovery says more than half of the people who ask for substance abuse treatment have some form of mental health issues. Often they self-medicate with drugs.

"To increase services to those type of people, it's going address a severe need in the downtown area," Stone said.

Stone says while the services at the center may change after the three-year trial period, the need for an after hours mental health facility will still be there.

"I truly believe, given the responsibility and stability of Hill Country, they will be contributing to our community for a long time."

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(c)2017 the Redding Record Searchlight (Redding, Calif.)

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