Canyon Lake’s First Mental Health Clinic Opens
Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church bills itself as “the little church with a big heart” but its ministry now extends to the minds of area residents.
Three weeks ago, non-profit Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) Center opened a income-based mental health clinic on the lower level of the church’s 2,500-square-foot Fellowship Hall.
Both the church and Hill Country MHDD, which serves 19 Hill Country counties, want to make mental-health services more accessible to people who live in the lake area.
“We always try to reduce barriers to receiving those services so that individuals can achieve their goals,” said Anthony Winn, center director for Comal Rural Clinic – Hill Country MHDD Centers.
It’s a first for Canyon Lake, which has never had a mental-health resource embedded in the community.
“Members of the church are delighted with the opportunity to serve in this way,” says Canyon Lake Presbyterian’s Nancy Ney.
Canyon Lake’s center includes 13 fulltime staff members: a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse practicioner, a therapist, a licensed vocational nurse and other mental-health professionals. The privacy and security of all patients is guaranted by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Winn said the facility treats those with severe and persistent mental illness, including major depressive disorders. Although it is not intended to treat drug or alcohol dependency, the center does include a program called “Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders” (COPS-D).
A licensed chemical dependency counselor is available for individuals with this diagnosis.
Counseling also is provided to the families of children receiving treatment.
On call is a mobile crisis outreach team that deploys when a mental-health crisis like suicidal or homicidal ideation puts lives at risk.
Clinicians have the ability to meet with children in Comal ISD schools as well, although MHDD’s services do not include early childhood intervention programs.
“Hill Country as a whole has done a real good job of treating the whole person,” Winn said. “We use a person-centered, strengths-based model, which means we really look at who this person is, and what their desire is. What are their goals and needs? We try to provide services according to that. The process ends up much more personal and healing when we do things that way.”
Free transportation is provided for those unable to drive to the church, located atop of one of Canyon Lake’s very rocky and steep hills at 230 Shepherd Hill Dr.
“It’s a really awesome resource for us to have for individuals who struggle with transportation, to find a way to get here,” Winn said.
The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for children ages four and up as well teens and adults. Extended hours are designed to help with work and school schedules.
Screenings also are provided at Healthcare Alliance of Providers and Partners for You (HAPPY) clinic, which provides wellness services, at the church on the second Tuesday of each month.
Individuals who do not qualify for services will be referred to other appropriate resources, Winn said. MHDD does not provide couples or family counseling although the center can provide references for those services.
Payment is based on ability to pay. Medicaid, Medicare and other private health insurance are accepted.