Mesa Marc Center strengthens outreach - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa Marc Center strengthens outreach

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Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:55 am | Updated: 7:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Kim Demaine says her selfesteem has improved since she first enrolled in the Marc Center’s Village Program in December.

The 32-year-old Chandler resident joined the new behavioral health program to combat her depression. The center’s approach to treatment is more comprehensive than just counseling — it’s also allowed her to do everything from cooking lessons to job training.

“When you get to do things like plan going-away parties, you feel like a part of the team,” she said. “You don’t feel useless. When you don’t work, you feel like you want to contribute to society.”

For more than a year now, the Marc Center has been working to implement a behavioral-health approach that aims to treat the “whole person.” And now, the center is able to put that model into practice with its new East Village Program and Outpatient Clinic on Florian Avenue.

The two buildings, which total about 7,200 square feet and cost roughly $1.2 million, offer a one-stop shop approach to behavioral health and bring much-needed mental health services to east Mesa.

The Village Program is a rehab program for severely mentally handicapped adults while the outpatient clinic provides mental health care to a wider variety of people.

Randy Gray, president of the Marc Center, said the center did a demographic analysis and found there was a higher need for services further east.

“One would think it would do better in downtown Mesa. Not true,” he said.

The Village Program’s treatment style is modeled after an approach developed in Long Beach, Calif. It was designed to incorporate housing, vocational, educational and recreational aspects into a person’s recovery plan. At the Marc Center’s new building off Greenfield Road, all of these services are now available under one roof.

“Why do we make individuals with mental illnesses jump around to all kinds of providers?” asked Michael Franczak, vice president of behavioral health services for the Marc Center. “If you bring all the services to one location and the person has a choice of which services they like, it’s a more holistic approach.”

The Marc Center was established in 1957 as a nonprofit corporation to serve adults and children with disabilities. It serves roughly 2,600 people and operates more than 40 group homes, an apartment complex, an outpatient clinic, respite services, and early intervention services for preschoolers.

Until a few months ago, the Village Program was housed in three small apartments on Mesa Drive. The Outpatient Clinic was located on Main Street and Lindsay Road, leaving staff to run back and forth between the two locations. Because the apartments were small, the Marc Center was not able to offer all the services it can now provide in its new building.

Now, the center has been able to partner with Art Awakenings, an organization that comes in and works with some of the people in the program to create pieces of art. A brightly-colored mural designed and painted with the help of patients greets people who come through the building’s doors.

The new facility has a kitchen where people can learn to cook on their own as well a laundry room and showers to teach personal-hygiene skills. It also has a multi-purpose community room and a small computer lab.

“The computer lab helps people who are looking for jobs find out information,” said Program Coordinator Cheryl Anderson. “Some people are just learning to turn on the computer for the first time.”

The Village Program and the Outpatient Clinic officially opened in March, although the Marc Center held the ribbon-cutting on Tuesday.

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