The Dove House Pilot Residential Treatment Facility Opening in Northern Nevada

The Dove House Pilot Residential Treatment Facility Opening in Northern Nevada
The Dove House Pilot Residential Treatment Facility Opening in Northern Nevada

The Dove House of Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony today.  The Dove House is a pilot mental health residential treatment center on the campus of the Galletti Way facility in Sparks, Nevada.

The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, July 10, from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at 480 Galletti Way, Building #8C in Sparks, Nevada (near the Department of Motor Vehicles by the Truckee River); orange and yellow balloons will mark the event.

As a result of a 2011 Health Division study, and the vision of Sharon Dollarhide who created programs like the Forensic Mental Health Team, The Dove House was created as a collaborative effort between Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) and WestCare Nevada, Inc.  The Dove House is a live-in, therapeutic, evidence-based community.

Dollarhide selected colleague Denise Abbey, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) to develop the program.

In February of this year, Abbey began working in a building on the Galletti Way campus in Sparks.  What was an empty, cold, abandoned structure just a few short months ago has become The Dove House, literally.

A naming contest including all of the employees of the NNAMHS resulted in the appropriately named Dove House.  A pair of doves lives in a nest on an alarm just outside the front door of the building; a few weeks ago, their baby joined them, a new birth for a new venture.

The Dove House Pilot Residential Treatment Facility Opening in Northern Nevada
The doves, mother and baby, in their home in front of The Dove House

The Dove House, has a special meaning to staff and the residents who will soon become part of the same family; together they will work towards a wellness plan so participants of the program can live independently, just as the name implies –

Developing

Opportunities with

Various resources and support resulting in

Empowerment for success

Unlike traditional group homes, The Dove House will provide structure, education, therapy, along with the more prosaic but completely necessary life skills such as laundry chores, cooking and cleaning, and workplace skills.  Each participant will have an individualized assessment plan managed by his or her service coordinator.

Treatment teams are in place to help manage participants in the program, including psychiatrists and nurses, with Abbey managing the entire staff as a certified QMHP (Qualified Mental Health Professional).

How will residents be referred to the program?

Participants can be brought to the House through a variety of paths; they may be referred there by the police department, the hospitals, emergency rooms (ER), anywhere in Northern Nevada.

How long will a resident stay in the House?

The program is voluntary; however, they must follow the rules of the House.  Nobody can be forced to take medication, but if they are schizophrenic and need meds, it is probably in their best interest as well as the House population, so they are educated.

Since each treatment plan is individualized, it is up to each person how they are doing in their program; for some it could be 3 months, for others 6; but the maximum they can stay is one year.

What is the goal of the program?

There are several goals of the program; there is definitely a gap in our mental health system in Nevada and in America in general.  Many people with mental illness find themselves tangled up in the legal system and become overwhelmed, and many officers are not trained sufficiently with how to handle that population.

According to the Nevada State Office of Epidemiology, it is estimated that law enforcement officers spend approximately 10% of their time in situations involving those with a mental illness.  It costs approximately $120 on average per night to house an inmate; however, there is no rehabilitation for someone with a mental illness, only the frustration of being “locked up”.

In a structured, supportive, and safe living environment, residents can learn the life skills they need to make it on their own outside of an institution.  They can break free of a system and acquire the tools for day-to-day living that most of us take for granted.

What else will they learn?

Participants will learn everything they need for casual everyday living: social skills, cleaning, chores, and how to find a job.  They will be living in a “home” environment where they will be encouraged to get along with each other, to work out differences in a calm, non-threatening and diplomatic manner.  It is like home economics, finishing school, and going to therapy all rolled into one.

Can I come to the opening?

Yes! The opening is open to the public, and the more people who wish to view the facility the better.  Awareness is the key to understanding the mental health issues in our country.  We are all touched by the disorders of schizophrenia, bipolar manic depression, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, recovering addiction and many other issues on a daily basis; it could be a friend, a neighbor, a relative, or somebody you see walking down the street.

For those in the health care industry or in law enforcement, the issues of mental health are even more serious, come to The Dove House tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. for the ribbon cutting.  Join those who will be on hand to commemorate the event and show your support for the newest addition the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services.

By Dawn Cranfield

US News Special Correspondent

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