CCMH to add facility for children, families
Columbia Community Mental Health will expand to a new facility in St. Helens at the start of next year.
On Jan. 1, CCMH will move its children and family services to the current location of Mark's Custom Exteriors on Highway 30, just half a mile from CCMH's 27,000-square-foot Creekside Campus off Gable Road.
"Our campus right now is already really crammed and does not have enough room for the staff that we have," CCMH Executive Director Julia Jackson said.
CCMH is in the process of taking over the Wraparound program, which coordinates comprehensive services for children with high-level mental health needs. The program has been administered by Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc., which is now transitioning out of Columbia County.
"The Wrap contract was really kind of the final straw," that prompted expanding to a new location, Jackson said. "We were just bursting at the seams."
CCMH added 13 positions to serve Wrap, though all but four will also serve other children and family needs.
With the new 6,000-square-foot location, CCMH won't see a wave of new hires outside of the Wrap program, but will have the space to accommodate existing staff and clients, plus the Wrap program's more than 55 children and their families.
"We really wanted children in particular to be able to come to a location where there weren't mixed populations in the lobby," Jackson said. CCMH's services bring in a wide range of clientele. "Every now and then we have the perfect storm," Jackson said, where children or adults may see someone they know, even an abuser or parent, in the waiting room.
Over the summer, CCMH began the process of splitting outpatient services into two distinct departments, one for adults and one for children and families.
Rebecca Jenkins, who already worked for CCMH, was named the new director of CCMH's Child and Family Department.
At a CCMH board meeting in August, Jackson explained that as a result of its large size, the outpatient department struggled with quality control more than inpatient services.
"Wrap has kind of pushed it over the edge a bit," Jackson said in August, telling board members that CCMH was beginning to create a separate department for children and families.
"That has really helped us focus on the details," Jackson said of dividing the departments. "Before, it was just way too many populations lumped together."
Mark's Custom Exteriors, a roofing company, has moved to a facility in Scappoose.
"The decision for us to transition to a new facility was part of an opportunity presented to us," MCE owners Mark and Angie Holcomb stated in a press release from CCMH. "When CCMH asked us to utilize our building so they could more suitably facilitate their program for the community, we had a hard time saying no," they added.
In addition to the Creekside Campus and the new facility, CCMH operates three residential facilities in St. Helens, a medical detox site, the Jordan Center for drop-in peer support, and the alternative pain management clinic, Revitalize Wellness Center.
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