Female-only mental health facility planned

Building would allow women with dependent children to complete substance abuse treatment

The parent organization of Craig Mental Health wants to create a female-only facility for treating drug and alcohol abuse in Western Slope communities.

Colorado Western Counseling Service, part of Colorado West Mental Health, Inc., will soon begin to solicit funds to purchase a building in Glenwood to house a substance abuse counseling facility for women who are pregnant or have dependent children. The facility that currently exists in Glenwood is a co-ed program.

"The new building allows for women to bring their children with them when they go in for counseling," said Diane Schlough of Colorado Western Counseling Service. "With the system currently in place, a major concern is what is done with the family. The children usually stay with a friend or family member or in foster care, but it's a cause of stress on both the mom and the kids."

The women-only facility would not only keep the family together but allow the children to receive counseling along with the mother being treated for substance abuse, Schlough said.

"The goal is to have the mom and her kids live a substance-free lifestyle," she said. "We want to have them living as a family unit, with a self-sufficient mom who can create a safe home environment for the children."

"The goal is to have the mom and her kids live a substance free life-style," she said. "We want to have them living as a family unit, with a self sufficient mom who can create a safe home environment for the children."

In Moffat County alone, there are "definitely a significant number" of women who would be better served by a facility of this nature, said Marilyn Bouldin, director of community care with the Visiting Nurse Association.

"There are two pieces to the whole issue," she said. "The first is short-term acute care, in other words detox, where someone is housed in a safe environment that isn't a hospital. The second is long-term rehabilitation, which this project is looking to fill. This facility would be a piece of the solution (for substance abuse problems)."

According to Craig Mental Health Program Director Barbara Seed, there are about 20 women annually from Craig and Moffat County that would benefit from this kind of proposed facility.

"My guess is over the course of a year we see 20 women that could benefit from this kind of resource," she said. "Correspondingly, there's an average of two children for each of these women."

The program would have a homelike transitional living center for women and dependent children. The program would have pre-admission screening, would be safe to the surrounding community, have 24-hour on-sight supervision, and the residents would pay rent and be responsible for chores, being employed and participating in the treatment program.

Recent data gathered by Colorado West Counseling Service shows that women either never enter a program or leave before completion because they are not able to bring their children. The substance abuse treatment program of Colorado West has been successful with men and women without dependent children, and the organization is seeking to expand that success to cover mothers.

"The program for men and women has developed to such a level that we need to put the men in a separate facility and develop the program to cover women with kids," Schlough said. "The men's program would stay in the building we have now, and the new building would be used for the women we've found the building, now we need to raise the money to buy it.

"This is a large but exciting project."

The fund-raising is still in the planning stages, and Colorado West Counseling Service will be looking to individuals, foundations and community members to help make this project

a reality."

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