Mental health centers in Dayton, Fernley to close

Mental health clinics in Dayton and Fernley will close in September, with services being consolidated in the state's Fallon, Silver Springs and Carson City offices.

Though it rejected the consolidation plans in December 2006, state Rural Clinics/Community Mental Health officials say budgetary restraints are forcing the move.

Sue Ann Bawden, acting director of the state's Division of Mental Health & Developmental Services/Rural Clinics said no patients will lose service, and those who can't travel farther can contact the department for transportation assistance.

"They will continue to be provided the same services they had, it will just be in a different location," she said. "The last thing we want is for our clients to be impacted negatively."

Clients in Dayton will either go to Carson City or Silver Springs, and those in Fernley will be transferred either to Silver Springs or Fallon.

Bawden said that 92 adult and 31 juvenile clients will be impacted in Dayton and 58 adults and eight children in Fernley will be affected.

No state employees will lose their jobs, Bawden said, with the staff going to Fallon, Carson City or Silver Springs.

The Dayton and Fernley clinics offered group therapy, individual therapy, helped clients manage their medication and offered psycho-rehabilitative services, which

Bawden described as "skill-building groups; people who are having difficulty with basic living skills or just coming out of the hospital and needing medication management education."

She said more of those services will be available with the consolidation.

However, Christy McGill, executive director of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties Inc. said the consolidation worried her.

"We're really concerned because what we would like is some sort of plan to uphold some sort of bare-bones services, and we think it's doable," she said. "We have had offers of office space come in. We're going to try to see if the mental health administrators can be flexible and consider some of these options."

She said she had talked to officials of Lyon County Youth Connections and Lyon County Human Services to see how to keep the clinics viable.

But Bawden said it was not financially feasible to continue running the two small clinics because of the state's revenue shortfalls.

"Everyone is being impacted, not just mental health," she said.

Rural Clinics/Community Mental Health helps patients in all Nevada's communities except Reno/Sparks and Las Vegas. The program has a sliding scale for patients without health insurance. There are 21 sites in rural Nevada, covering close to 100,000 square miles.

Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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