By Tim Leeds
The Golden Triangle Community Mental Health Center is holding an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10.
Outpatient Therapist Vicki Van Cleave said there will be hors d'oeuvres and non-alcoholic punch at the open house, and a chance to come in and see who the community mental health providers are and what they do at the center.
Van Cleave, who started at Golden Triangle Mental Health on May 15, said they can treat almost any situation, ranging from a stressor such as losing a job or a relationship breakup to severe, chronic problems.
Van Cleave said people are welcome to call for a consultation. She said they help many people at the center who have severe symptoms due to problems in their life, but do not have severe mental illness. She said they can help determine if people need help from the center or not with a consultation.
She said Joe Uhl, the county director, works primarily with adults who have a variety of difficulties, but especially those with chronic mental illness.
Van Cleave said she is a child and family specialist, mainly with children age five and up, although she can consult with younger children.
She said she and Uhl provide the therapy at the center, but Shannon Crossler, the Blaine County director, has been coming in to help one day a week. She said Crossler provides therapy and some evaluations.
Van Cleave said they also have two adult case managers and two children's case managers. She said the case managers help ensure that clients are receiving basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, and help coordinate services with other entities as needed, such as making sure they have access to doctors, medication, HRDC services or residential treatment.
Van Cleave said that the children's case managers also go into the homes to help implement treatment for the clients.
She said they also use therapeutic aids (TAs) with some clients. She said the TAs spend time with a child or isolated adult to help build social skills and self-esteem. She said the program is similar to the Big Brothers and Sisters program, but on a limited time. She said TAs only work with clients for about a year or so.
Van Cleave said one of their services is to provide evaluations and testing. She said they can often find major disorders, if any, or personal problems that are causing clients difficulty.
Van Cleave said a program Golden Triangle Mental Health is just starting is a therapeutic family care program. She said it is for children who are at risk of being placed in foster care by the Family and Social Services Department.
Van Cleave said it is a team effort involving a family care specialist, case manager, and TA with a family unit. She said she goes into a client's home twice a month, and the family comes into the center twice a month; the TA works with the child, and the case manager helps coordinate services.
She said they used to use a program like this with children placed into foster care, but the emphasis with the new approach is to keep the children in their own families and in the community.
"We really believe in families here at Golden Triangle," Van Cleave said, "we want them to be successful, want them to work. We don't want the child to have to leave."
Van Cleave said the center is part of a private, non-profit corporation serving thirteen counties and based out of Great Falls. She said they accept insurance, Medicaid and self-pay for their services.
She said the center wants to find out what services the community wants to see them provide. She said if there is anything people in the area would like to see them add to their services, they should call the center and let them know.