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Archive for Friday, January 11, 2008

Bert Nash sets new goals

January 11, 2008

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For nearly 60 years, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center has provided outpatient services for people suffering with mental health problems - a dramatic shift from institutionalization, which was the most acceptable treatment during its inception.

In recognition, the Chamber of Commerce honored Bert Nash with an Excellence in Commerce award for nonprofit organizations. Patricia Roach Smith, chief operations officer for Bert Nash, said the award struck her as a surprise, but filled her with pride.

"We really listen to and feel strongly about the feedback the community gives us," Roach Smith said. "We're really committed to public education, and we feel strongly that mental health is an important part of health in general."

Bert Nash serves more than 9,000 patients per year. Most are victims of depression or anxiety disorders, Roach Smith said. It offers mental health evaluations, case management, crisis services, screens for hospitalization and in-home family therapy.

In addition, it organizes programs like Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities. Provided in partnership with school districts, WRAP is designed to offer students mental health support.

Prided by its devotion to the community, Bert Nash also hired a behavioral health aging specialist after community members indicated the need for one.

"The position was put in place almost entirely based upon community feedback received," Roach Smith said. "She probably spends half of her time educating the community on issues related to aging."

Roach Smith said Bert Nash will continue to listen to feedback and aim to improve its services.

"We really want to continue our focus on quality, accessibility and innovation," Roach Smith said. "We want to continue to expand our services that are research based - those services that have an empirical base that shows that they work, and we want to continue to develop strong partnerships in providing health and continue to be responsive to the needs of the community and changing environment."

Journal-World intern Chansi Long can be reached at 832-7154.

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