Grand Mental Health has cut the ribbon to open Thursday a unique therapeutic home offering five to seven days of intensive behavioral health treatment in a fully equipped, furnished and monitored home.
The Brief Stay Therapeutic Home is believed to be the first such facility in Oklahoma, and possibly nationwide.
“We don’t just want to treat people in the least restrictive environment, we want to treat the whole family. [We want to] keep them in their own communities so the children are not removed and sent hours away to a place where the parents cannot be involved in treatment,” said Josh Cantwell, GMH’s chief operating officer.
“Imagine if a 10-year-old has a six-month hospital stay, that’s 5% of his life he’s lost,” he said.
Bartlesville City Council member Billie Roane says the new facility is a tremendous asset to Bartlesville.
“The Brief Stay Therapeutic Home helps people when they’re coming out of a facility or they’re having issues with their family, and the family actually moves in and they’re monitored,” she said. “You are encouraged to give them a place to have a soft landing, not just go back home and deal with the same issues again that caused it all in the first place.”
GMH chose Bartlesville to start the pilot program because the community has one of the highest populations of children the organization serves and one of the largest populations of children admitted to an inpatient facility. GMH hopes to have three of these homes in Bartlesville and one in each community they serve.
The home, which will open next month to serve its first family, is expected to serve 52 families a year.
In creating the Brief Stay Therapeutic Home, Cantwell said they looked at the goal they wanted to achieve in Bartlesville, which was to reduce the number of children separated from their families, and worked backwards to meet that goal.
The overarching goal for GMH is simple: Reduce the number of people who commit suicide, Cantwell said. The key to this is better access to behavioral therapy services.
“In the 12 counties where we operate, around 2.6% of people are currently receiving services from us and we know that a conservative estimate is that 18% to 23% of people need some form of help with a problem with mental health or drug use,” Cantwell added.
In addition to the new home, GMH is opening a 24-hour crisis center in Bartlesville and making iPads available to its patients, allowing them to connect with a licensed psychiatrist 24 hours a day/seven days a week.
According to Jeff Harlin, GMH’s Chief Clinical Officer, the group’s services have grown rapidly since achieving certified behavioral health clinic status in 2017. This gave GMH federal funding that prioritized outcomes over patient service delivery.
Harlin explained that by shifting to an outcomes-based model, the organization will have healthier patients, more referrals, better talent and healthcare professionals, and ultimately more funding as GMH provides a service that benefits the community.