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Mental Health Services Expanding in Kiowa County

SE Health Group to Open New Office in Eads

Eads Colorado, the future site of a new SE Health Group Office - Photo Credit Lindsey BarlowA map of Colorado showing the counties with a shortage of mental health services says it all. The nine counties with no shortage--Larimer, Boulder, Weld, Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas—are clustered together and account for two-thirds of the state’s population. The remaining third of the population is dispersed across 55 counties, all classified as rural and with limited access to mental health services or no access, at all. Given that numerous studies have indicated rural counties are experiencing mental health issues including substance abuse, depression and, in some cases, suicide rates at record levels, this is a crisis in the making.

Kiowa County is no exception. The community has suffered the tragic loss of several members to suicide in recent years, and, as is true literally across the nation, farmers and ranchers have been dealing with unrelenting, multiple stressors for an extraordinarily long period of time. Consequently, it’s no surprise that local residents who recently attended the Hospital Transformation Project meeting identified a need for more extensive mental health services as a community priority.

It looks like that need is about to be met.

On or about October 31st, Southeast Health Group (SHG) will be providing mental health services in their own 2300 square foot building currently being constructed on Rittgers south of Highway 287. The facility will be open 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday with a full time receptionist available to greet people and schedule client care. Intake staff will also be available to help people engage in services. Staff who will work in the facility include Eads resident Kailey Meardon, SHG Community Connector, and Kiowa County resident Lindsey Barlow who, is the current mental health therapist for people with Health First Colorado (Medicaid). People with private insurance will access a master’s level counselor via tele-counseling. That service, as well as tele-psychiatry, will be coordinated on-site by the front desk staff.

Currently, SHG provides 24/7 crisis services in coordination with KCHD. The group has also been offering services in Eads three days a week in cooperation with Prairie Pines Assisted Living with additional appointments at the Department of Health Services as scheduled. The new facility will allow SHG to be open five days a week in their own permanent location built specifically for that purpose with a receptionist located on-site.

Dawn Back, long time provider at the Eads Medical Clinic, has nothing but good things to say about SHG’s expanded presence in Kiowa County. “Mental health is a key part of a person’s overall health and well-being,” she states. “And for a long time, Kiowa County was seriously lacking in having those services easily accessible to our residents. But since SHG has come to Kiowa County, providers have been able to facilitate patients being assessed and then, when appropriate, connected with the services they need. This valuable, warm and caring hand-off technique allows for a patient to get real time assistance easily and often when it’s needed the most. And now, having Southeast Health Group permanently located just down the street and open five days a week means our patients will be served at a new, more comprehensive level they haven’t experienced with us before. And that’s what it’s all about. Developing a professional community that delivers the best, most compassionate and comprehensive health care to the people who trust us to meet their health care needs. This is a crucial addition to the health care landscape in our county.”

Southeast Health Group services the six counties that comprise southeastern Colorado. The group has also ordered a mobile treatment van and will soon have the capacity to provide medication assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol addiction and opiate dependence throughout those six counties. Outpatient substance use disorder services will be available in Eads after the location has been licensed by the State Office of Behavioral Health, a process that may take several months.

If the building is completed by the target date of October 31st, the first date of client care will potentially be November 1. More information will be released as that date approaches. In the meantime, the current schedule and scope of services will continue so that the transition to the new facility will be as seamless as possible.

The four office building, located at 18433 Rittgers, will provide SHG with space for a board room, a group room plus an additional room to be used for a variety of patient based services. The fourth office will be occupied by Dan Richards of Richards Well Calibration.

Anyone in need of additional information can contact Southeast Health Group at 800-511-5446.

Photo: Eads Colorado, the future site of a new SE Health Group Office - Photo Credit Lindsey Barlow


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