The following interview is part of a “future of mental health” interview series that will be running for 100+ days. This series presents different points of view about what helps a person in distress. I’ve aimed to be ecumenical and included many points of view different from my own. I hope you enjoy it. As with every service and resource in the mental health field, please do your due diligence. If you’d like to learn more about these philosophies, services, and organizations mentioned, follow the links provided.
Interview with Gayle Flanigan
Many facilities that can fairly be called “communities of care” because of the compassionate care that they provide nevertheless employ and rely on the current, dominant paradigm of “diagnosing and treating mental disorders” and “providing psychiatric medication as needed.” Maybe a time will come when “communities of care” will connote a chemical-free facility; but for now that isn’t necessarily—or even usually—the case. Here is Gayle Flanigan on Rose Hill Center.
EM: Can you tell us a little bit about Rose Hill Center?
GF: Rose Hill Center, located on 420 acres in Holly, MI, is a residential treatment center for adults 18 and older who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and often a co-occurring substance use disorder as well. The carefully designed programs have a full continuum of services designed to meet the individual needs of those whom it serves. It was established in 1992 and is accredited by the Joint Commission. The comprehensive programs afford individuals the opportunity to work with a full clinical team while participating in meaningful activity and enrichment on a daily basis. This unique program allows individuals to take the time they need to become knowledgeable about mental illness, establish a medication regimen to alleviate symptoms, and develop the skills needed to successfully integrate into the community and maintain their stability.
EM: Would you say that you have an underlying philosophy with regard to what helps people in distress?
GF: At Rose Hill, we believe that people can recover when they receive professional psychiatric care, participate in meaningful daily activity, develop mutually supportive relationships, and engage in their own treatment program. Our team of dedicated professionals provides an individualized program in a tranquil setting.
The combination of expert clinical care in a peaceful environment provides relief from the turmoil that mental illness and substance use issues can cause in a person’s life. Rose Hill Center meets people where they are and helps them develop a comprehensive, evidence based plan in which they can articulate their areas of concern as well as their personal goals. Rose Hill then provides the supports and therapies that nurture and facilitate the healing process and assist them in achieving these goals.
Daily schedules can include therapeutic work activities, job readiness and acquisition skills, therapy, life skills, healthy mind/healthy body groups, exercise, and computer skills. Elective activities can include music, art, drama, and yoga.
EM: What are your thoughts about so-called psychiatric medication as it relates to the folks you serve?
GF: Medications play an important role in the recovery process at Rose Hill. One of the admission requirements is the individual’s willingness to work with the treatment team on a medication regimen while concurrently participating in the various therapeutic groups activities that take place in our residential setting.
For each diagnosis, on-site psychiatrists prescribe advanced medications based on on-going research that has improved customized drug regimens through the use of algorithms and genetic testing. At the same time, the clinical team provides personalized treatments and therapies to treat behaviors and attitudes.
In the 24-hour residential setting, the team focuses time and attention on finding the most effective medication and dosage for each individual. While at Rose Hill for lengths of stay that average 6-9 months, staff can monitor the effectiveness as well as any side effects and make immediate adjustments to the types and doses of medications, as needed.
EM: How can people support “communities of care” like yours, either yours specifically or, more broadly, the concept of “communities of care”?
GF: People can support communities of care by learning more about the need for compassionate treatment in a dignified setting. As has been learned with other illnesses, proper diagnosis, individualized medication management, and education are key components to successful treatment.
This past summer, the mother of a Rose Hill graduate spoke at our golf outing about her daughter’s recovery at Rose Hill. In speaking to those in attendance who had helped raise funds for the financial assistance program that benefitted her daughter, she said:
“I want to thank you for giving my daughter the chance to enjoy a life filled with relationships, work, joy, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to plan and care for others … Each of these elements has returned to her through the help of the Rose Hill staff and your generosity in supporting the Financial Assistance Fund. You have given my daughter the ability to live her life to her greatest potential. What a gift!
What a gift, indeed!
EM: If you had a loved one in emotional or mental distress, what would you suggest that he or she do or try?
GF: Mental health treatment looks different for everyone. The important common factor is the need for professional consultation, education, and treatment. People with mental illness need to learn about their illness, learn how to manage their illness, develop coping skills and, in most instances, take medications. They also need a support system to help them through the ups and downs of treatment.
Gayle Flanigan has been Director of Development & Special Events at Rose Hill Center since 1996. During that time, she has also served as editor of Rose Hill’s quarterly newsletter and annual report, and she has provided content for the website. The website is www.rosehillcenter.org
Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of 40+ books, among them The Future of Mental Health, Rethinking Depression, Mastering Creative Anxiety, Life Purpose Boot Camp and The Van Gogh Blues. Write Dr. Maisel at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit him at http://www.ericmaisel.com, and learn more about the future of mental health movement at http://www.thefutureofmentalhealth.com
To learn more about and/or to purchase The Future of Mental Health visit here
To see the complete roster of 100 interview guests, please visit here: