Press Releases

Press Releases

Your source for all press releases regarding Mental Health Center of Denver.

The Mental Health Center of Denver Salutes the Distinguished Career of Forrest Cason

Renowned CFO quietly put together some of Denver’s most important developments

August 8, 2016   |   Download

DENVER…Drive around Denver and marvel at some of the key developments that have made a lasting mark on the city.

Read More

Anschutz Medical Center, the redevelopment of Stapleton from an airport to a thriving community, the nation’s first child & family mental health center that also includes an urban farm, supportive housing projects to help provide a solution to the issue of homelessness, and the region’s largest adult mental health center. Although he would prefer to shrug off his distinguished career, Forrest Cason was instrumental in securing financing and putting together some of the region’s largest and more complex developments.

Cason, who has served as the Mental Health Center of Denver’s CFO for the past 9 years, will retire this month. His extensive experience includes work in public finance, investment banking, and state and local government.

According to President and CEO Carl Clark, MD “Forrest Cason is a smart, caring and humble man who has made a significant difference in the lives of the children, families and people we serve. His exceptional leadership has positively impacted his colleagues within and outside of the Mental Health Center of Denver. His stewardship and expertise made it possible for us to realize our dreams of the development of our state of the art Adult Recovery Center, the innovative Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being in Northeast Denver and the affordable Sanderson Apartments in Southwest Denver.”

Cason counts the opening of the Recovery Center as one of his most satisfying projects.  “The complexity of the project due to the acquisition, the site, the nature of renovations and the complicated financing made this a very gratifying project to complete. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work on it and it’s been rewarding to see the positive consumer and staff response,” he said.

Cason, who is looking forward to spending time with his wife, their children and 13 grandchildren, plans to travel domestically and internationally. He is also eager to “just sit back and enjoy the serenity of life” on his two acres in Boulder County, where he can often be found driving his John Deere tractor.

“We wish Forrest great experiences in his retirement,” said Dr. Clark. “He will be greatly missed as we remember all that he has done for our organization and the community. His efforts have secured the Mental Health Center of Denver’s financial sustainability and positioned us for continued growth.”

The Mental Health Center of Denver has embarked on an executive search to fill his position.

For more information on the Mental Health Center of Denver, visit mhcd.org.

####

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Joy Meadows, 303-522-9045, joy@meadowspr.com

The Mental Health Center of Denver Breaks Ground on Innovative Permanent Supportive Housing Project

Sanderson Apartments to house 60 of Denver’s chronically homeless as part of city’s Social Impact Bond Program

April 25, 2016   |   Download

DENVER, April 25, 2016…. A ceremony was held today to break ground on an innovative new housing project aimed at reducing homelessness in Denver. Mayor Michael B. Hancock was among city leaders and stakeholders who celebrated the groundbreaking of Sanderson Apartments.

Read More

Modeled after successful permanent supportive housing projects in other U.S. cities, Sanderson Apartments will house 60 of Denver’s chronically homeless, which will lend to the city’s efforts to provide housing for 250 of the most vulnerable residents through a Social Impact Bond program that launched in February of this year.

“We are thrilled to partner with Mayor Hancock and the program investors to help Denver’s most vulnerable residents break the heartbreaking cycle of homelessness,” said Carl Clark, M.D., president and CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver, which will build and operate Sanderson Apartments. “We are committed to finding solutions to homelessness because we know when people are in their own homes and feel safe, they are better able access other social services to improve their well-being.”

Sanderson Apartments will be the largest supportive housing project for the

Mental Health Center of Denver and will be located at 1601 South Federal Boulevard in Denver, on the southwest corner of Federal Boulevard and West Iowa Avenue. When complete, the three-story, 50,000 SF building will include 60 one-bedroom, furnished apartments with on-site staff and amenities. Construction is expected to be complete in summer 2017.

“Today marks a new day for 60 chronically homeless individuals who will call Sanderson Apartments home under our Social Impact Bond program. By providing permanent housing, we are helping the most vulnerable in our community to stabilize their lives and set themselves on a path to recovery,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, who spoke at today’s event. “I want to thank the Mental Health Center of Denver for being a great partner in this vital work. Together, we will help these individuals by removing them from a cycle of jail and hospital visits and into permanent housing and supportive services.”

The Mental Health Center of Denver is Denver’s non-profit community mental health center and has been delivering comprehensive and accessible mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing, education and employment services to children, families and adults for more than 25 years.

The City and County of Denver is committed to creating stable housing for 250 chronically homeless residents. The cost of providing safety-net services to 250 of Denver’s homeless population is approximately $7 million per year. Stable housing and supportive services can prevent expensive encounters with the criminal justice and safety-net systems and help individuals lead more stable and productive lives.

The Sanderson Apartments building was also supported by $600,000 in financing through the Denver Office of Economic Development.

The development is the latest project to break ground under the Mayor’s “3x5 challenge.” Announced in mid-2013, the challenge calls for the development, rehabilitation or preservation of 3,000 affordable housing units over five years. The city and the real estate development community have produced 1,714 units to date under the challenge, with nearly 1,200 additional units under construction or scheduled for development.

Sanderson Apartments were designed by Davis Partnership Architects and will be constructed by Denevue Construction Services.

For more information, visit www.mhcd.org/sandersonapts

####

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For more information on Sanderson Apartments and the Mental Health Center of Denver, contact Karen Prestia, Karen.Prestia@MHCD.org or (303) 802-9904.

For information on the City and County of Denver’s plan to end homelessness, contact Julie Smith, Julie.Smith@DenverGov.org or (720) 944-1422.

Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being opens its doors January 5th

Innovative Child & Family Center offers variety of services to promote well-being

January 4, 2016   |   Download

DENVER, January 4, 2016….The Mental Health Center of Denver’s new child and family community center, Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, opens its doors January 5, 2016 in Denver’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood at 3401 Eudora Street.

Read More

Dahlia Campus is an innovative community mental health center that offers a wide variety of services, including a preschool, gym, urban farm, dental clinic, community kitchen, mental health services and educational classes to promote the overall well-being of the local community.

The four-acre campus is the nation’s first mental health center to be built with the intention of supporting all aspects of well-being and is the result of a multi-year partnership with natural community leaders to identify resources needed to strengthen the community.

“We wanted to put the community back into community mental health,” stated Lydia Prado, vice president of Child & Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver. “We worked with community leaders to pinpoint exactly how together, we could best serve the unique needs of the neighborhood.”

To address the community’s need for access to healthy food, Dahlia Campus will feature an urban farm and aquaponics greenhouse where fresh produce and fish will be raised. There is a teaching kitchen, where classes will be held to guide families on preparing nutritious meals. Since tooth decay ranked as the top health issue in nearby schools, Dahlia Campus will also feature pediatric dentistry.

Additionally, there will be an infant mental health program, deaf and hard of hearing services, horticultural therapy in therapeutic gardens, learning landscapes, playgrounds, parenting classes, yoga for all ages and more.

Construction partners for the $16.5 million Dahlia Campus were Anderson Mason Dale Architects, Taylor Kohrs Construction, City Projects, Inc. and Group 14.

Beginning, January 5, Dahlia Campus will be open for services and the community is welcome to stop by for weekly tours on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Friday at 4 p.m. For more information on Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, visit, mhcd.org/dahliacampus. If you are interested in learning about programming at Dahlia Campus, contact Site Coordinator Taliah Abdullah at Taliah.Abdullah@mhcd.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Prestia, Karen.Prestia@MHCD.org, (303) 504-6714

####

The Mental Health Center of Denver provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing, educational and employment and prevention services. Last year, the Mental Health Center of Denver provided services to more 45,000 children, families and adults in Denver. For more information, visit www.mhcd.org.

The Mental Health Center of Denver's Recovery Center Earns LEED® Platinum Certification

March 25, 2013   |   Download

DENVER (March 22, 2013) – In July 2012, the Mental Health Center of Denver opened its new Recovery Center at 4455 E. 12th Ave. in Denver. Recently, the Recovery Center was awarded the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), helping the Mental Health Center of Denver fulfill its vision of being the greenest mental health facility in the country.

Read More

“We believe that the Recovery Center is the only mental health facility in Colorado and the second in the nation to receive the Platinum designation,” said Jim Fasano, facilities services director of the Mental Health Center of Denver. “We wanted a sustainably designed building that was filled with natural light and beautiful finishes, somewhere that people felt good about walking into and that reinforced our belief that people can and do recover from mental illness. Knowing that the Recovery Center accomplishes this while upholding the highest standards of environmental sustainability is especially rewarding.”

LEED® certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED-certified buildings are designed to: lower operating costs and increase asset value; reduce waste sent to landfills; conserve energy and water; be healthier and safer for occupants and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The Recovery Center is the first major project to commence the re-use and revitalization of the former CU Health Sciences District. The relocation of the Health Sciences Center to the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora had left behind a cluster of vacant and outdated buildings. The Recovery Center is the very first investment in restoring this neighborhood to a new vitality.

In December 2011 the Mental Health Center of Denver purchased the four-story 92,000 gross square-foot property, which was built in 1952 to house the Mount Airy Psychiatric Center and in 1989 became the North Pavilion outpatient mental health treatment and research facility run by the University of Colorado. Vital as its services had been, this psychiatric facility was long overdue for thorough rehabilitation even before the Health Sciences Center decamped. Total costs for acquisition of the property, renovation and furnishing totaled $15.5 million.

The Recovery Center was awarded with the Platinum certification for a number of reasons, including the deliberate way that the North Pavilion was deconstructed with a strict commitment to salvaging building materials. An impressive 72 percent of construction waste was recycled. Other key factors in securing the Platinum certification include:

rooftop 40kW Solar PV array generating 10%-14% of the building’s energy needs – enough to power 5 single family homes

  • renovation of all major building systems and increased energy efficiency will reduce energy consumption by approximately 1,000,000 kWh per year – enough to power 94 single family homes
  • Landscaping that incorporates low water and native plants combined with efficient irrigation systems will produce outdoor water savings of over 50 percent; efficient water systems will lower indoor consumption by at least 37 percent annually
  • low VOC-emitting finishes and added ventilation will provide superior indoor air, which in a typical building can be eight times more polluted than outside air

The Recovery Center construction team consisted of City Projects, Inc. serving as owner’s representative, along with Davis Partnership as the architect and Taylor Kohrs as the general contractor. Group14 Engineering served as environmental consultants.

According to Carl Clark, M.D., CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver, “In 2007, we challenged ourselves to become the greenest mental health center in the country because we believe a focus on being green at the office helps us be better stewards of our limited resources and sets an example for our community. The Platinum certification is a testament to our dedication to this vision and we are thrilled to be recognized.”

Brighten the Holidays with the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Gifts of Joy Drive

November 13, 2012   |   Download

Denver (November 13, 2012) - The Mental Health Center of Denver is looking for cash and gift donations for its annual Gifts of Joy holiday gift drive, and hopes to help more children and families than ever before. Denver’s largest mental health provider is calling on the community to make holiday donations in the form of children’s gifts/toys and $10 gift cards for the needy children, adolescents and adults it serves.

Read More

Founded in 1989, the Mental Health Center of Denver has over a 20-year proven track record of helping thousands of people. And the need for services continues to grow. Over the past year, there was a 23.5% growth in the number of adults and children who are enrolled in treatment with the Mental Health Center of Denver. The Mental Health Center of Denver has expanded its programs and services for children and families based on a growing need and the belief in early intervention. More than 75 percent of people who receive treatment from the Mental Health Center of Denver go on to lead healthier, more productive lives.

200 new, unwrapped gifts are needed for children up to 12 years old.

More than 2,000 children and 1,000 adults in need receive holiday gifts through the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Gifts of Joy holiday gift drive. The Mental Health Center of Denver provides mental health services to children ranging in age from infancy to 18. Almost all need financial help and without gift donations many would not receive anything this holiday season.

Increased need for $10 gift cards for adults this year. The gift drive is in need of ten-dollar ($10) gift cards to stores like Target, Walgreens, King Soopers, or Safeway for over 1,000 adults and at-risk youth living on the streets.

The Mental Health Center of Denver's Recovery Center Opens

July 10, 2012  |   Download

Denver’s community mental health center creates an integrated health care hub – a medical home where adults can receive their mental and general health care under one roof Denver, (July 9, 2012) – The Mental Health Center of Denver opened its new Recovery Center at 4455 E. 12th Ave. in Denver today. The Recovery Center, designed to provide both mental and primary care services, creates a true health care home to treat adult mental health consumer’s holistic healthcare needs.

Read More

The newly renovated building is named the Recovery Center based on the Mental Health Center of Denver’s belief that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and will be the organization’s flagship adult clinic by consolidating the resources of four smaller, over-crowded clinics into one larger, modern facility. The expansion of the new facility also helps achieve a larger vision of readapting existing clinic space within the organization to provide additional services needed for children and families.

“The Recovery Center opening marks a major milestone in becoming one step closer to helping achieve our vision of being able to serve all the needs of those in our community suffering with mental illness,” said Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver. “Integrated care is the desired health care delivery model for the future, and for the first time, Denver has a mental health treatment facility designed around how services are provided.”

An entire wing of the new building is dedicated to primary care services and integrated healthcare. For people with mental illness, this is especially important, as studies show that mental illness is associated with a shorter life span. On average people with mental illness die 10-25 years younger than the rest of the population largely due to untreated medical disorders like heart disease, diabetes or lifestyle-related issues such as poor diet or smoking. The Mental Health Center of Denver is committed to providing integrated care and treating the whole person. “Space has been our biggest barrier to delivering more services,” said Dr. Cheryl Clark, medical director at the Mental Health Center of Denver. “We have been land-locked for clinic space, where there is literally no space available to add more staff to serve more people and expand programs for people with a wide variety of needs. The Recovery Center is the solution and this new building and its design allows us to put teams that work together near each other, and faster communication enhances a unified treatment approach.”

The new facility allows the expansion of healthcare integration programs to increase access to primary care, laboratory, pharmacy, intensive case management, wellness education, supportive housing and benefits acquisition and other essential services. A client can receive all prescribed services during one extended visit to the Recovery Center. It is also expected to open up more appointment times for other clients, including those who are accessing services for the first time.

New observation areas were specifically designed to deliver advanced treatment options, safety and appropriate monitoring of patients for intensive case management. There is also a new on-site pharmacy so consumers can have their prescriptions filled in the same clinic where they receive their services saving them time, travel and in some cases, money. There is access to personalized health coaching with health educators on site providing wellness and nutrition programs in the areas of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle issues. Other on-site services include supported housing, education and employment services and telemedicine connectivity.

Because the Recovery Center is centrally located in the heart of Denver and convenient to public transportation, it is expected to help alleviate the transportation issues previously faced by many consumers, who now won’t have to go to separate clinics for different services. Having services such as primary care physicians, a comprehensive pharmacy, and housing assistance located in one building eliminates the need to go to several places and increases compliance overall in patients, which in turn increases the chances for better health outcomes.

There are more than 15,000 adults with severe mental health conditions in Denver, about 3.3 percent of the city’s adult population. Last year, the Mental Health Center of Denver was able to serve about 4,000 of these individuals. In the last five years, the Mental Health Center of Denver has doubled the number of people it serves, but not space in which to serve them. It is still forced to turn away two people for every person it admits and is currently able to serve about one-third of Denver’s adult population in need. As the largest provider of mental health services in Denver and the state, the Mental Health Center of Denver needed more space to serve more people. It is expected that within three years after completion of the Recovery Center, the Mental Health Center of Denver will increase the number of adults served annually by over 40 percent (approximately an additional 1,600 people).

Dr. Carl Clark added, “Denver is an example of what communities across the country are facing -- increased demand for mental health services without the capacity to serve all those in need. Responding to this significant unmet demand for recovery-focused mental health treatment in our community, the new Recovery Center allows greater capacity to serve and brings us closer to closing the service-to-needs gap.

The Recovery Center also revitalizes an existing community, as the first major project to commence the re-use and revitalization of the former CU Health Sciences District. The Mental Health Center of Denver purchased the 92,000-square-foot property at 12th Ave. between Birch and Clermont in December 2010. Total acquisition of the property, renovation and construction costs totaled $15.5 million. Formerly the Mt. Airy Psychiatric Hospital, the University of Colorado Hospital purchased the property in 1989, and it was renamed the North Pavilion. The Recovery Center construction team consists of City Projects, Inc. serving as owner’s representative, along with Davis Partnership as the architect and Taylor Kohrs as the general contractor. With the renovation complete, the Recovery Center is destined to be the "greenest" mental health facility in the state and possibly the country. The Mental Health Center of Denver is in the process of pursuing Platinum LEED designation for the building. (LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.)

Dr. Carl Clark added, “We’ve created an integrated health care ‘hub’ and one-stop medical home for patients to receive all their mental and general health care needs under one roof. This is symbolic, as it is a first for Denver and the Recovery Center’s sustainable design will serve as a national model of excellence for communities across the country to emulate.” The Mental Health Center of Denver gratefully acknowledges the support of the Colorado Health Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation, and the Caring for Colorado Foundation for initial funding for this capital project.

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) is known nationally for its successful groundbreaking approach to mental health treatment. At the Mental Health Center of Denver, those living with a mental illness are involved in shaping their own recovery and given the chance to regain control of their lives.

The Mental Health Center of Denver is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health center, providing treatment and prevention services to the residents of the City and County of Denver since 1989. The Mental Health Center of Denver believes that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and that treatment works and improves the lives of people of all ages. The Mental Health Center of Denver provides a comprehensive, innovative and accessible array of mental health and substance abuse services to over 21,000 children, families and adults annually.

Former First Lady of Colorado Jeannie Ritter to Serve as a Mental Health Ambassador for the Mental Health Center of Denver

July 1, 2012  |   Download

DENVER….When Jeannie Ritter became Colorado’s First Lady, she knew immediately that mental health would be her official cause. Advisers questioned her choice and encouraged her to take on something with more “universal appeal.” But, Jeannie was adamant and for four years, she helped bring unprecedented attention to mental health in Colorado.

Read More

Jeannie’s quest to normalize mental health continues as she joins the Mental Health Center of Denver as a Mental Health Ambassador. In this full time position, she is tasked with helping to educate the community about issues surrounding mental health and the role the nationally recognized Mental Health Center of Denver plays in helping enrich the lives and minds of people living with mental illness.

Jeannie stated, “Considering that one in five people struggle with mental illness and that a mental health issue will likely impact each and every one of us at some point in our lives, the time is right to challenge misperceptions and help change the conversation around something that is so very common and incredibly important.”

“We are thrilled that Jeannie is joining the Mental Health Center of Denver as our mental health ambassador,” said Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver. “Our practice and philosophy are built around recovery and Jeannie’s passion will be a great asset as we continue to educate the community about how common mental health issues are and that recovery can and does happen.”

Jeannie is best known for serving as the First Lady of Colorado from 2007 to 2011. She taught for Denver Public Schools for ten years and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado.

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health center, providing treatment and prevention services to the residents of the City and County of Denver since its founding in 1989. MHCD believes that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and that treatment works and improves the lives of people of all ages. Through more than 35 community sites, mental health providers in 18 Denver public schools, collaborations with community partners and home-based outreach, MHCD provides a comprehensive, innovative and accessible array of mental health and substance abuse services to over 15,000 children, families and adults annually.

Canadian comedian stands up for mental health

May 18, 2012 |   Download

Inspiring performance delivers a powerful message of hope using humor

Denver, May 18, 2011. –David Granirer stand-up comedian and mental health counselor is the keynote speaker and performer at the Mental Health Center of Denver’s (MCHD) annual Consumer, Family, and Provider Recovery Conference - Stand Up for Mental Health Recovery which celebrates May is Mental Health Month.

Read More

Granirer teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building their confidence and fighting stigma. He has been working with five MHCD consumers helping them develop comedy routines, which they will perform before a live audience at the conference. "The comics have been working really hard to turn their mental health issues into comedy and I know we're going to have a great show. Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy,” says Granirer. “We offer it as a form of therapy.” 

As an author, stand-up comedian and mental health professional, Granirer brings his inspiring form of therapy to people everywhere in order to raise awareness, break down mental health stigma, make people laugh and engage them in a discussion about mental health and the role it plays in a person’s over all wellbeing. Find out more about David Granirer and his unique brand of comedy at his website http://www.standupformentalhealth.com or visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/standupformentalhealth.  Mr Granirer is available for interviews before and after the conference. 

MHCD’s 2011 Recovery Conference, Stand Up For Mental Health Recovery, will be held Thursday, May 26th at First Plymouth Church 3501 South Colorado Blvd., Englewood, Colorado 80210. Mental health consumers, professionals and providers from around the state gather in Denver for this free, one day conference to learn about the latest in recovery-focused treatment strategies. MHCD is nationally recognized as innovative in its approach to mental health treatment believing that people can, and do, recover from mental illness. MHCD has a 70 percent recovery rate and has earned national prominence from its peers for developing outcome measurement tools to track mental health recovery.

In the plenary session, MHCD Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carl Clark will address Behavioral Health in a World of Healthcare Reform. The conference also features six breakout sessions on various topics and a catered lunch by Sally’s Café, a MHCD culinary training program for consumers who want to pursue careers in catering, restaurant, and food service. Sally’s Café provides lunch daily at MHCD’s 2Succeed in Education and Employment program.

Stand Up for Mental Health Recovery is sponsored by the Mental Health Center of Denver and Access Behavioral Care, Citywide Banks and McKesson.  It  takes place at First Plymouth Church, 3501 South Colorado Blvd., Englewood, Colorado 80210.

The conference is free but registration is required as space is limited. More can be found at www.mhcd.org

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) is known nationally for its successful groundbreaking approach to mental health treatment.  At MHCD, those living with a mental illness are involved in shaping their own recovery and given the chance to regain control of their lives. 

The Mental Health Center of Denver is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health center, providing treatment and prevention services to the residents of the  City and County of Denver since its founding in 1989. MHCD believes that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and that treatment works and improves the lives of people of all ages. Through more than 35 community sites, mental health providers in 18 Denver public schools, collaborations with community partners and home-based outreach, MHCD provides a comprehensive, innovative and accessible array of mental health and substance abuse services to over 15,000 children, families and adults annually.

Denver Leader Assumes Chair of Board of National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

July 25, 2011 |   Download

Denver –July 25, 2011 -- Carl Clark, MD, assumed leadership of the board of directors of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) as the association advances an aggressive agenda to protect and expand safety net mental health and addictions treatment services. Clark leads a board committed to recovery and a life in the community for persons with mental illnesses and addiction disorders.

Read More

Clark, a practicing psychiatrist and CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) in Denver, has been a passionate behavioral health advocate for more than three decades. He leads MHCD in its mission of enriching lives and minds by focusing on strengths and recovery and is widely known as an expert in improving community mental health care. “It’s a privilege to have been elected chair of the National Council’s board at a time when healthcare reform and parity are about to greatly expand access to behavioral healthcare and our community is being asked to step up to the plate to help. I am humbled and energized by the opportunity to help millions of adults, children, and families with mental and addictions disorders get better and get their lives together,” said Clark.

Under Clark’s vision and leadership, MHCD, the behavioral health provider for the City and County in Denver, and the largest mental health provider in Colorado, has become nationally known as the leader in mental healthcare for developing a progressive approach to measuring and tracking recovery for persons with mental illness. “We are leading the way in what works to improve outcomes and efficiency while still helping more and more people recover and live meaningful and productive lives in our community,” says Clark. “We believe that people can and do recover from mental illness and that treatment works. Healthier people contribute to economic prosperity of communities through increased productivity at work or at home.” 

Clark has been the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Exemplary Psychiatrist of the Year and the Colorado Business Council’s Professional Man of the Year. He is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine and received a prestigious Livingston Fellowship from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in 2008.

“The strength of the board cannot be overstated; each member brings to the table an understanding of community and a vision of National Council member organizations as change makers. Carl Clark leads a board determined to take us from strength to significance and I’m honored to be part of the effort,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council.

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) is known nationally for its successful groundbreaking approach to mental health treatment.  At MHCD, those living with a mental illness are involved in shaping their own recovery and given the chance to regain control of their lives. MHCD is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health center, providing treatment and prevention services to the residents of the City and County of Denver since its founding in 1989. MHCD believes that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and that treatment works and improves the lives of people of all ages. Through more than 35 community sites, mental health providers in 18 Denver public schools, collaborations with community partners and home-based outreach, MHCD provides a comprehensive, innovative and accessible array of mental health and substance abuse services to over 15,000 children, families and adults annually.

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) association of 1,950 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addiction disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives. Learn more at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.

Mental Health Center of Denver Honored with National Award for Excellence in Service Innovation

May 18, 2011  |   Download

Denver, CO - The Mental Health Center of Denver has been recognized by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare as the winner of the 2011 Awards of Excellence in Service Innovation.  The Mental Health Center of Denver is being acknowledged for their Integrating Care through Court to Community (IC3) Program.

Read More

“The Mental Health Center of Denver has made significant contributions to the lives of many and sets an example of a truly innovative and caring program in this field. It is an honor to recognize and support their achievements,” said Valarie A. Canady, editor of Mental Health Weekly.

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) has provided extensive and accessible mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment, housing, education and employment services to the citizens of the City and County of Denver since 1989. MHCD provides treatment to over fifteen thousand individuals at over thirty-five locations, and also operates in eighteen Denver public schools, resulting in quality mental healthcare for an additional nine hundred students and their families. MHCD has more than ninety-five professional affiliations with national and local organizations, including programs that serve Denver’s homeless population and those involved with the criminal justice system.

IC3 is a specialized program to treat individuals with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system for violations of municipal ordinances or other minor offenses. The program addresses the consumers’ mental illness and substance use disorders with Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), evidenced-based practices, and wrap-around services, while also providing the consumers with integrated primary health care services. IC3 is a collaboration between MHCD, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Denver County Courts, Colorado Access, the Denver Health Medical Center, and the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine. It is funded by the City and County of Denver and the Colorado Health Foundation.

The Mental Health Center of Denver’s mission is to enrich lives and minds by focusing on strengths and recovery. MHCD is Colorado's only community based mental health center with specialized services for deaf and hard of hearing children, adolescents, adults and families. MHCD employs more than five hundred professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses, case managers, social workers, vocational counselors, teachers, pharmacists, residential counselors, medical assistants and support staff.

“This program has been able to provide reach out to a vulnerable and often ignored population,” said Dr. Carl Clark, President and CEO. “MHCD is so proud to be recognized for having such a positive impact on our community.”

Each year the National Council honors individuals and organizations that are the best and brightest in mental health and addictions treatment and services. These are the programs and the people who are ahead of the trends, pioneering new service delivery models, engaging in innovative use of technology, and demonstrating positive outcomes for individuals and families. The Excellence in Service Innovation Award recognizes provider organizations like the Mental Health Center of Denver that are operating innovative and effective programs and services to meet the mental health and addictions treatment needs of the communities they serve, with an emphasis on demonstrating outcomes, putting research into practice, and serving the most vulnerable populations.

The Awards of Excellence will be formally presented to Mental Health Center of Denver and their fellow honorees on May 3, 2011 during the 41st annual conference of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare in San Diego, California.

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,800 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitative services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.

The Mental Health Center of Denver is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health care organization providing comprehensive, recovery-focused services to more than 15,000 residents in the Denver metro area each year. Founded in 1989, MHCD is Colorado's leading provider and key health care partner in the delivery of outcomes-based mental health services.

Mental Health Weekly, published by Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. provides decision-makers with the latest information on business trends, state funding and policy issues, litigation, federal legislation and policy, and innovative practices. Founded in 1807, Wiley has been a valued source of information and understanding for 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Our core businesses publish scientific, technical,

medical and scholarly journals, encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional/trade books, subscription products, training materials, and online applications and websites; and educational materials for

undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia.

Mental Health Center of Denver Recognized with National Awards for Effective Treatment, Innovation and Diverse Leadership

April 1, 2011 |   Download

Denver –April 1, 2011 - The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) recently received several national awards for innovative use of technology, effective mental health treatment and leadership training that improves services for Denver’s diverse community.

Read More

The 2011 Awards of Excellence from National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare recognize individuals and organizations that have significantly shaped behavioral health care and improved the lives of people with mental illness and addiction disorders.

The Mental Health Center of Denver was recognized in several categories:

Winner, Excellence in Service Innovation Award – Integrating Care through Court to Community (IC3) Program -- MHCD’s Court to Community Program jail diversion program started in 2006 with the mission of creating a flexible and responsive system to serve and manage misdemeanor offenders with serious and persistent mental illness as an alternative to jail

Now entering its fourth year, Court to Community has proven to be an enormous success for Denver as a jail diversion program that promotes mental health recovery, reduces psychiatric admissions and hospitalizations, days spent in jail and detoxification facilities and costly public services and criminal justice costs. It saves the community $2.50 for every dollar spent on treatment.

The program recently began providing consumers with integrated primary health care services to address their physical health care needs as well as providing mental health treatment. Court to Community (IC3) is a collaborative effort between MHCD, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver County Courts, Colorado Access, Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine. It is funded by the City and County of Denver and the Colorado Health Foundation.

Program of Significance, Excellence in Health Information Technology - Confidential Incident Reporting (CIR) -- MHCD implemented a single electronic application that combines three different reporting systems into one more efficient, cost-effective system. This advanced reporting system provides better care to MHCD’s mental health consumers through improved communication between treatment teams and consumers as well as resulting in superior security to protect privacy and confidentiality.

The Awards of Excellence will be formally presented to MHCD on May 3, 2011 during the 41st Annual Conference of the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare in San Diego, California.

Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program Award – Russ Urrutia, program manager at MHCD’s El Centro de las Familias clinic, was selected for a unique leadership program to further MHCD’s efforts to serve cultural minorities, drive cultural competency initiatives, and focus on developing programs and a workforce that reflects Denver’s diverse community.

Urrutia was selected from over 130 applicants from healthcare organizations across the country. Participants in the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program will be part of a year-long peer to peer learning community and receive group and individual coaching from expert consultants. The program includes a rich array of education, mentoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities.

El Centro de las Familias - a multi-cultural, out-patient clinic of MHCD - is located in southwest Denver and specializes in bilingual mental health services for Spanish speaking children, adolescents, adult and families http://www.mhcd.org/Services/ElCentroDeLasFamilias.html

________________________________________

The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) is known nationally for its successful groundbreaking approach to mental health treatment. At MHCD, those living with a mental illness are involved in shaping their own recovery and given the chance to regain control of their lives.

The Mental Health Center of Denver is a private, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3), community mental health center, providing treatment and prevention services to the residents of the City and County of Denver since its founding in 1989. MHCD believes that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and that treatment works and improves the lives of people of all ages. Through more than 35 community sites, mental health providers in 18 Denver public schools, collaborations with community partners and home-based outreach, MHCD provides a comprehensive, innovative and accessible array of mental health and substance abuse services to over 15,000 children, families and adults annually.

Mental Health Center of Denver Acquires Building for Future Adult Services Recovery Center

February 16, 2011  |   Download

MHCD Selects Davis Partnership As Architect for Renovation of Former CU Health Sciences Building

Denver -- February 16, 2011 – The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) has announced the acquisition of a new building, as well as the selection of a project architect to design a green and sustainable renovation of the property. MHCD’s board of directors approved the $3.5M purchase in late December 2010 of the 75,000 sq. ft. building at 4455 E. 12th Ave., located at 12th Ave. between Birch and Clermont. MHCD is planning an extensive renovation of the building, which was built in 1952 as the Mt. Airy Psychiatric Hospital, and then in 1989, the University of Colorado purchased the property, that became known as the North Pavilion.

Read More

The new building will become Denver’s landmark center for recovery based on MHCD’s belief that people can, and do, recover from mental illness and will become the organization’s flagship adult services clinic by consolidating the resources of other smaller clinics in the surrounding community. This will allow MHCD to expand other needed services, such as providing more youth and family service clinics in the metro area. The organization estimates the new building will help to close the service-to-needs gap, whereas currently the ratio is for every one new consumer MHCD accepts it has to turn away two people. 

“The acquisition of this building marks a major milestone in becoming one step closer to helping MHCD achieve its vision of being able to serve all the needs of those in our community suffering with mental illness,” said Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of MHCD. “We have doubled the numbers of those served in the past five years, but we have not doubled the space available, which is why purchase of this building is so important. We are so proud to be able to provide this new space, which will allow an expanded level of treatment and care and greater focus on recovery. Recovery can mean different things to different people, but for most it means regaining control of one’s life and being able to set and achieve personal goals for fulfillment.  MHCD is the national leader in recovery-focused care, and acquisition of this new space will help us do an even better job of that with even more people in our community,” he added.

Mental Health Center of Denver Translates its Transformation into National Learning Collaborative

October 18, 2010    |   Download


The Mental Health Center of Denver developed in-house a set of four instruments designed to measure whether the center is becoming more recovery-focused in its services. The Mental Health Center of Denver had held a series of recovery-focused conference events about a decade ago, but its leaders were getting restless. They realized that sponsoring a conference really wouldn’t move the needle on transforming their own community mental health facility from one that simply tried to keep clients out of the hospital to one that helped people achieve a meaningful life in recovery. 

Read More

It would take three to four years to articulate fully what the center should look like as a recoveryfocused operation, one that reflects a revised organizational mission statement that emphasizes client strengths. The pivotal decision in this process involved establishing a quartet of instruments that would  allow the mental health center to measure accurately whether its recovery focus was taking hold with clients and improving their lives. 

The Denver center’s Reaching Recovery initiative is now also reaching community mental health organizations nationwide. Last month, 800 sites participated in a webinar on measuring recovery from mental illness featuring the Denver center’s experiences, an event sponsored by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. And next March, 10 CMHCs will be invited to a two-day summit in Denver that they will leave with specific action plans for achieving transformation in theirorganizations.

“We have established a culture here where all employees in the organization promote recovery,”Roy Starks, director of rehabilitation services and the Reaching Recovery initiative for the Denver center, told MHW.

Four instruments

Starks said the center developed its four recovery instruments in-house, after researching what else was available and concluding it could devise instruments that would better meet its needs.

The first instrument, which has been used in the organization the longest, ties levels of care to the progress clients achieve during treatment. It allows for a client’s systematic progression, for example, from an assertive community treatment (ACT) team to case management services to standard outpatient care.

In the second instrument, clinicians rate client progress in eight recovery-focused areas, including housing, education, employment  and engagement in treatment. Starks said the clinician evaluation occurs every three months and the results are plotted in order to track trends.

The third instrument asks the client to rate his/her progress in a variety of areas, also every three months. Starks said the center has been able to reduce an extremely lengthy questionnaire to 17 questions, exploring areas such as success in managing symptoms, strength of the client’s social network, and the client’s control over the treatment planning process.

As with the clinician ratings, the data from these surveys are embedded into the center’s electronic medical record (EMR) system, giving clinicians easy access to the information. Starks sees having an EMR as critical to a center’s ability to measure client progress and to act  on the information.

Citing an example of how the process might work, Starks said a psychiatrist might check the EMR before seeing a patient and notice that the patient’s rating of his sense of safety dropped significantly since the previous survey. This would lead to some questioning during the visit, where it would be discovered that the patient recently lost a close relative.

“This would lead to a discussion that might not have happened otherwise,” said Starks. “We emphasize in all this that we’re not just dumping data into a hole.”

The fourth instrument, used once a year, involves surveying a stratified sample of 400 clients; a team of consumers is recruited to conduct the surveys. This survey asks the clients about the extent to which the various service providers they encounter promote their recovery, Starks said. This review encompasses not only case management and nursing staff, but also vocational counselors and even front-desk personnel at the center.

Not surprisingly, Starks said, early results from use of this survey seem to indicate that staff members whose role is specifically related to rehabilitative services tend to receive higher ratings from clients in terms of helping to promote their recovery. 

Starks said that the center previously had used a survey developed by an outside source, but that instrument assessed only a broad measure of recovery organizationwide, not how individual staff members enhanced or inhibited a client’s recovery. He added that the center does not intend to apply the results of the survey punitively to staff members or groups that don’t rate high among consumers, although the information collected will serve as a good educational tool.

Although the center has no more than three years of experience with use of three of the four instruments, Starks said it is already able to present the data in a variety of ways. By arranging the data in a four-quadrant fashion that simultaneously looks at recovery orientation and overall client progress, the center can identify outliers in the survey and explore  their characteristics.

In addition, Starks foresees being able to conduct detailed analysis of how a clinician’s rating of a client’s progress might differ from the client’s own rating of that progress.

Staff transition

While transformation to a recovery vision can represent a challenging transition for community mental health organization staff members, Starks said the disruption from use of the new measurement tools in his organization has been minimal.

“For our case managers, it has not been so difficult,” he said. “We had collected quite a bit of data before. These instruments replaced other instruments we were using.”

Starks said the center is excited about continuing to share its recovery vision with other community mental health organizations, particularly through the new-found opportunity of hosting the 2011 Recovery Transformation Summit next March 23-24. The center received a competitive grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to host the national conference.

Centers will be asked to apply to attend, and the 10 that are selected will engage in a two-day process that will identify for each a project to be initiated back home to facilitate transformation to a recovery orientation.

“After two days, each center will have an action plan to be more recovery-focused,” Starks said.

For more information about the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Reaching Recovery initiative and the 2011 Recovery Transformation Summit, visit www.reachingrecovery.org.