Letters to the Editor

Health care: Mental health assistance is available

October is Mental Illness Awareness month, and I’d like to make sure that our community is informed about the excellent care provided at your local community mental health center.

Despite severe under-funding and stressful working conditions, a team of dedicated and highly educated professionals work extremely hard to provide effective counseling at our clinic.

Island Mental Health is a part of Community Mental Health Services, a three county non-profit agency. We provide psychiatric and behavioral health services to Whidbey Island; we also have a Camano Island site. The agency as a whole serves Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties.

Our Emergency Services department is available to help those in crisis. If you, or someone you know, has an urgent need for mental health care, call the Care Crisis Line at 1-800-584-3578. A mental health professional can help decide what is needed, ranging from telephone counseling to psychiatric hospitalization.

Our adult program serves approximately 500 people in Island County. Our services include: psychiatric care and medication management; case management, in-home care and outreach; a state licensed chemical dependency treatment program; Older Adult Services, and a peer counseling program; group and individual therapy; an Asian/Pacific Islander program; psychiatric and case management specialists in treating individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness; a Dialectical Behavior Therapy program for people with self-harming behaviors; an Adult Crisis Respite, with 24-hour staffing; and residential services and housing.

We also offer vocational services, including two mental health consumer-owned businesses (one was the first-place winner in a nationally judged contest of vocational programs.).

Child and Family Services provides a care to children and families in homes, schools and child care centers. These include: a Child Hospital Alternative Program; psychiatric evaluation and medication management by a specialist; individual, group and family therapy; Family Reconciliation Services, Family Preservation Services, and Therapeutic Child Development Services; and a Child Respite program.

If you have any questions about these programs, or would like to discuss a mental health need, please call me at 678-5555.

Robin Farrand RN, MHP

Island Mental Health

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