Ozark Center Outpatient Mental Health Programs Under One Roof - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Ozark Center Outpatient Mental Health Programs Under One Roof

Joplin, MO -

Freeman Ozark Center combined three outpatient mental health programs together under one roof.

A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday for the new location of the  Community Care Program. It is now on 34th street near  Freeman East Hospital.  

A renovation puts the Inspire Center, a psychosocial rehabilitation program together with Healthcare Hope and community care to offer rapid screenings and case management.    

Clients Robert Palmer and Veronica Sims played pool at the CCP. They   get more than a friendly game when they come there.
Palmer explained, "It has totally turned my life around. I went from  staying in an apartment, drinking myself, not eating food, never answering the door, never going anywhere." 

Palmer, who has paranoid  schizophrenia,  doesnt drink now  and even  has a job. He bragged, I'm associating with people and basically its a wonderful group. And I all of those things it takes   to keep somebody in a community encourage  people with mental illness, if they have a co-occurring disorder to come and talk to these people."

Palmer, like many, doesn't drive so here he and  Sims can  attend group therapy  sessions, can get medication checks from nurses in the healthcare home program and even learn cooking skills with a new teaching kitchen.

CCP Director of Adult Community Services Lisa Francis added,  "We also have some psychiatric  services in the building as well,  so they can have it all in one place. Its nice."
Francis and Ozark Center Chief Administrative Officer Vicky Mieseler said it’s wrap around services designed to offer treatment so the clients can stay in the community. Mieseler added, “Some are focused on  medical care and helping people with serious medical conditions with complicating mental health issues, some are focused on employment and  some are focused on  housing. All of those things it takes  to keep somebody in a community."

Veronica Sims lives independently at Ozark Oaks. Facilities that are apartment complexes developed as a direct result of legislation passed by President John F. Kennedy to end institutionalizing those with mental health issues. That is something  thats very important to  patients families including Sims mother.
Linda Cartwright said, "I would be so heartbroken if she was in an institution.  It
s good that we know where she is, know shes getting meds, know she's being fed, she's in a clean environment,  she's taking all these classes."

Sims also has schizophrenia and self medicated with drugs. She
s learned coping and life skills   at Ozark Center over the past  15 years  and even during a drug  relapse.
Sims said, "They've been the most supportive loving  helpful people that you can imagine if it weren
t for them i might be homeless theres no telling  where id be."

It's treatment in their community keeping them close to home.
Cartwright added, "We pick her up, usually on Saturday. She spends the night with us then goes to church with us on Sunday morning. That's so good for her and for our family."
And for Palmer, the CCP itself is like home. "They're wonderful people. It's like a little family."


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