Monday marked a step forward in treating eastern Kentucky’s mentally ill.
Local, state, and healthcare officials came together with patients and treatment teams for an open house of the new recovery mall at ARH's Psychiatric Center.
Kelly Gunning knows all about the often silent struggle of the mentally ill. She suffered for years from depression, her son from paranoid schizophrenia. Her biggest problem with treatment?
“There was no focus on rehabilitation,” says Gunning, NAMI Executive Director.
She's one of many who pushed for a new Recovery Mall at the ARH Psychiatric Center. One of its main goals is to get rid of the stereotype of pills and seclusion.
“There are a lot of people out there that still believe psych hospitals maybe have dirt floors, gray walls, chains. You would be amazed at how many people are still stuck in that 'one flew over the cookoo's nest' type of thinking,” says Gunning.
The Recovery Mall is all about options, with about 60 therapeutic activities and sessions from which patients can pick and choose.
“We talk about individualized plans throughout health care but this gives patients a true choice,” says Wendy Morris, Executive Director of ARH Psychiatric Center.
Patients say the approach marks a major improvement from years past.
“I've been in facilities where they did not have these options, and the treatment isn't as near as successful,” says Mary Jean Combs, a bipolar, manic depressive Patient
“This will be a good addition for clients to learn about their mental illness and to learn about coping skills outside as well as in here,” says Larry Lepine, a former schizo-affective patient.
3,000 patients are admitted to the psych center each year, and officials say the quality of treatment here for mental illness should be no different than for any other sickness.