Mental health board optimistic of early program results

The Albany County Mental Health Board is working with a health care firm to provide residents with assistance treating mental health issues.

The Laramie based Clinic for Mental Health and Wellness was selected by the county to provide gatekeeping, or care coordinator, services for the county’s mental health board to help people receive personalized treatment to meet their needs, Albany County Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent said.

“A person from the firm is assigned to a patient, and they are brought along through the entire process — behind the scenes — all the way through the court processes and upon their release,” Trent said.

“They are working with the patient to ensure they get wrap-around coverage and services in place to assist that patient and their family to ensure that they do not come back through our system.”

Trent said even though the board has had some people come through the program since the care coordinator service became available Oct. 1, it is too early to tell how the board is doing. Trent is optimistic in its ability to provide effective treatments.

“It has only been a few months, but we have not seen recidivism, or repeats of those patients coming back through the system,” she said. “I am optimistic as to the resources (we are providing) and what we are doing, but it is too soon to know the effectiveness of it.”

Along with providing patients with personalized treatment, the mental health board is also reaching out to other mental health organizations to create contracts outlining their responsibilities and how gatekeepers are assigned once patients have been released from the facilities, she said.

“One (organization) we are working on is the Wyoming State Hospital,” Trent said. “If a patient is placed at the Wyoming State Hospital, upon their release, our gatekeeper is assigned and working with them as that patient is reintroduced to our community.”

Several places throughout Wyoming are also developing mental health gatekeeping programs, and they differ from Albany County’s, based on the funding resources they have available to them, she said.

“In some respects, Albany County is way ahead of other communities, and in other areas, we are not — because we don’t have the resources for crisis intervention teams that come together,” Trent said. “We have developed a different type of model that allows for the same outcome but not with the use of those resources.”

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