11.15.18 – The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation is the first tribe in Kansas to build a facility for the sole purpose of mental health care. Through providing a stand-alone center, the PBP Nation hopes to encourage removing the stigma around seeking mental health care while allowing patients to maintain a certain level of privacy. The new Behavioral Health Center is a component of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Health Center.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house took place on Thursday, November 15, 2018. The event allowed the PBP Nation community and health agencies, an opportunity to learn more about the services provided and explore the new 4,800 square foot state-of-the-art facility.
The ceremony commenced with an invocation delivered by PBPN tribal member and veteran, Jim Potts. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Chairman Joseph Rupnick greeted the crowd of about 80 individuals and delivered a short speech detailing the planning and delivery of the new resource. Chairman Rupnick then thanked key partners in the effort which included Sabatini Architects, Mar Lan Construction, former PBP Health Center Director Bill Thorne who championed the project and the PBP Nation general council who voted to approve the funding for the $1.8 million facility.
Up next, Walter A. “Tony” Siebert, LSCSW, LCAC, PBPN Behavioral Health Manager, provided a brief overview of the history of the program. It started as a humble Alcohol & Drug Recovery program in 1989, at the IHS Holton Service Unit. Over the course of three decades, it has evolved to include Mental Health Counseling and evaluations, Dual Diagnosis Treatment, Continuing Care, Individual, Family & Couples Counseling, Group Therapy, Anger Management, Crisis Intervention, Alcohol & Drug Information School and referrals. In addition to Siebert, the program has three more Behavioral Health Counselors. The Behavioral Health Center is available for any federally recognized Native Americans age 14 and older within the service area.
Closing out the ceremony, attending Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council then cut the ceremonial ribbon. Afterward, attendees were invited into the Behavioral Health Center where staff provided tours and answered questions. Light refreshments were provided in the Group Meeting Room.
The idea for a Behavioral Health Center began in 2014, motivated by a lack of space for Behavioral Health Staff and by patients having to travel through other departments in order to receive care. Along with establishing the building, the Behavioral Health Program has also increased their commitment to care over the past few years by focusing on acquiring certification, increasing staff positions, updating the records system and receiving accreditation. In the near future, the program plans to incorporate a psychiatric practitioner and in the long term would like to add more staff in order to serve those under the age of 14.
To seek services at the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Behavioral Health Center call 785-966-8355. The facility is located at 11386 158 Road, Mayetta, Kansas.
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