WOOSTER, Ohio — “A vision come true” and the start of “a new era” were how a mental health and recovery official characterized the unveiling of The Village Network’s Therapeutic Stabilization Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
The Therapeutic Stabilization Center is a 24/7 facility to care for youth who are experiencing a severe crisis. The number of youth who fit that category have been trending upward.
About 23,000 youth in Ohio are the victims of abuse and neglect, and around 13,000 of them are removed from their homes, said Rich Graziano, president and CEO of The Village Network. Add into the mix the effects of the opioid crisis, and the number of children who are experiencing traumatic events are on the rise.
“There’s a need for us to step up to the plate and help these kids out,” Graziano said.
That is what the Therapeutic Stabilization Center is designed to do. The facility will feature mental health and medical care around the clock for youth who are experiencing a crisis. The focus is on those from Wayne and Holmes counties, however, as space is available, other counties will be able to utilize the state-of-the-art facility with its innovative programming.
The new facility allows staff to treat increased trauma, Graziano said. “It allows us to immediately intervene with the families and assess the children appropriately.” This will help get them into the most appropriate treatment.
About 700,000 children were deemed to have been abused or neglected in a 2016 study, said Dave Paxton, The Village Network’s chief clinical officer. The largest group consisted of those who were younger than 1 years old. These adverse childhood experiences have lingering negative impacts that affect the youth throughout their lives, which limits their educational attainment, causes health problems, and leads to early deaths.
“We see them when they are 15, 16 and 17 years old,” Paxton said, adding judges see them in juvenile courts in their teen years.
“It’s a vision come true,” said Judy Wortham Wood, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne & Holmes Counties. “For many of us, it’s what we needed for a long time.”
The new center’s roots go back about four years when Wood approached Paxton about building a crisis center. About the same time, Paxton said he and his colleagues were beginning to hear more about children who were experiencing a crisis and showing signs of possibly harming themselves.
The Village Network has provided cutting-edge care. The organization introduced the Neurosequential Model to this community, Wood said. And, nobody else in Ohio does it exactly like The Village Network, she added.
The Village Network offers trauma-informed care, and Paxton said the new center will incorporate nontraditional methods, like yoga, art therapy and music therapy, along with cognitive behavioral therapy.
“It takes the right environment to provide the right treatment,” Wood said. “This begins a new era for us. … We’re changing the world. we’re changing all health outcomes.”
Graziano, Paxton and Wood all expressed their pleasure in knowing families will be engaged in the treatment process from the beginning.
“I really like these events,” said Doug Bailey, community capital project manager at the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, the agency that helped fund the project. In traveling around the state and working with other mental health and addiction boards, “It’s fair to say not all of them do the same quality job of bringing resources into their communities,” he said.
Graziano envisions the TSC being used as a short-term placement for up to 21 days. Those who are struggling and having a hard time can come to the center instead of a youth detention facility. “We’ll work a short time with them,” and they will either go back to their placement or their home, he added.
Graziano thanked Haudenschild Insurance Agency for being the first company to invest in the project; United Titanium for being the lead sponsor; the Seaman Corp. for providing a second lead gift; Steve and Cheryl Shapiro for funding a sensory integration room; and Weaver Commercial Contractor for constructing the facility.
The Therapeutic Stabilization Center will soon go through the commissioning process with the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services before providing treatment.