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FMH Receive Award of Merit for Behavioral Health Services by the Illinois Rural Health Association

Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services has been awarded an Award of Merit by the Illinois Rural Health Association.  The Award of Merit is given to any agency, organization, group of individuals, who has or have made an outstanding contribution of major significance to the rural health movement.  The Committee considers broad benefits to health, innovative programs, unusual contributions or activities that provide outstanding benefit to the public’s health and are consistent with the goals and objectives of the Association.

Members of Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services traveled to the Illinois Rural Health Association’s 30th Annual meeting in Champaign, IL to accept this award on behalf of all of the employees at Fairfield Memorial Hospital.

While the prevalence of mental illness is similar between rural and urban residents, the services available are very different. Mental healthcare needs are not met in many rural communities across the country because adequate services are not present. Access to mental health services can be challenging in rural areas. Fairfield Memorial Hospital recognized this need for a rural health community and made exponential steps forward to provide these services. Mental health is an integral part of an individual’s overall health and well-being which is why Fairfield Memorial Hospital offers outpatient Behavioral Health services through its Rural Health Clinic, Horizon Healthcare. This program was recently expanded to include a third Behavioral Health Therapist and four Crisis Counselors for patients seeking treatment in our Emergency Department and/or required stabilization in our acute care inpatient unit pending transfer to an inpatient psych/rehab facility in order to improve access to needed services. Additionally, FMH Senior Life Solutions offers Outpatient Geriatric Psych services for older adults in a group setting.

Thanks to the services now being offered at Fairfield Memorial Hospital people no longer have to drive far to receive needed services. We have been able to improve ease of access to these services. We are also helping to reduce the stigma of seeking professional counseling and more people are receiving the much needed treatment in order to better improve their lives. We will be offering Behavioral Therapy services to the rural health clinic that we will be opening in Carmi later this year which will help improve access to mental health services for people in that area. In addition, Amy Barton LCSW, specializes in play therapy to help children with sensory and communication issues.

For people with crisis situations, we are now able to have those patients seen within a week which is a significant improvement compared to the two-three week waiting period these patients would have had in the past to be seen, in addition, they no longer have the long drive.

Our Senior Life Solutions program has been able to help many older adults return to their normal functioning level before life situations caused them to enter into depressive mental states. They are able to enjoy the many things that life has to offer again.

 Mental health issues are reduced while services are being provided. Our Behavioral Health Therapists work closely with primary care physicians to care for the whole person to make our community healthier. Through our services, our staff have started providing suicide prevention outreach services in our local high schools during a special event that teaches students the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of someone in need and that it is okay to ask for help. Our Crisis Counselors are able to work closely with providers to identify patients at risk and to help find placement for people who require inpatient and/or intensive mental health services to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Our Senior Life Solutions staff work to help older adults break through the stigma that is often associated with seeking mental health services in that generation and for them to realize it is not weak to ask for help. These programs are working to improve awareness and improve ease of access to meet the growing needs of our communities.

“We are beyond blessed to have the Behavioral Health Services we do here in our small community. Our Behavioral Health Services has continued to grow with our organization and we continue to expand the services being offered to our patient’s needs.  I am extremely proud for the hard work and dedication this group of professionals have brought our organization and it is an honor to see their work being recognized as they received the Award of Merit from the Illinois Rural Health Association.” Stated CEO Katherine Bunting-Williams.

For more information on our Behavioral Health Services offered at Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Horizon Healthcare clinic please call (618) 842-4617.

Pictured is (front row) Kelsey Murbarger, Dana Taylor LCSW ACSW, Susan Renshaw, Jill Barnfield LCSW, Lauren Griswold LCSW, Amy Barton LCSW.  (back row) Shari Winter, Ashley Tucker RN, Jeff Wood LCSW, Kathie Hill LCSW. Not pictured is Dakota Short and Lacy Bunting.

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