Note: This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Reach, which publishes later this week. Download a PDF version of this article (1.1 mb).
At a recent conference, a long-time colleague in the addiction treatment field asked to have dinner with me, and his opening question took me aback: “Where are you going with this new mental health effort?” he asked, and then he went on. “Is this a trend toward integration that we are missing? How’s it going?”
It occurred to me that some other people might be wondering where Rosecrance is heading. The wonderment may be occurring from two directions – from the substance abuse treatment perspective and from the mental health services direction. Both treatment areas have strong advocates.
To answer the last question first: The merger is going very well. On Sept. 1, we will mark the one-year anniversary of the formal merger between Rosecrance and the former Janet Wattles Center. Our early integration of services predates that by eight months, as the two organizations formally “affiliated” at the beginning of 2011.
Over 18 months, we have combined our back office functions to improve efficiencies in such areas as finance, human resources, purchasing and technology. Saving money was not the goal of the merger, but being more efficient never hurts and allows us to serve more people with the resources we have.
At the same time, we are making strides toward integrating services for people with co-occurring disorders. We are working toward a time when we can offer “one-stop shopping,” so to speak, to clients with dual diagnoses of substance use and mental health disorders. We were already doing that to some extent before the merger, and our progress in that direction continues to move forward. We are serious about recovery, and we need to treat the whole person.
Meanwhile, many of our services have remained and should remain distinct and unique from one another. Graphically, think of it this way: Say substance abuse services are contained within a yellow circle. Mental health services are in a blue circle. Push the circles together so that they overlap on one side to create a new area of green. Clients in the center need services from both sides.
While the number of clients who could rightly be placed in the green area is growing, Rosecrance still offers services that are unique to mental health and unique to substance abuse. We continue to embrace the evidence-based practices that lead to lifelong recovery, wherever the client fits in the interlocking circles.
The key concept is summed up in the word recovery. It’s where the rubber meets the road, if you’ll pardon the cliché. It is the unifying theme of what we do at Rosecrance, regardless of whether the client came to us for help with substance abuse, mental illness or both. And to my colleague who sparked this thought process: Thanks for asking.
As we continue to move our mission forward, please keep our board, our staff and the clients we serve in your prayers as we all go, by the Grace of God, one day at a time.
– Philip W. Eaton, President/CEO