Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rosecrance co-sponsors 13th annual Consumer Family Forum

Stars of Light, experiential therapies highlight conference

Stars of Light Theater Troupe cast member Donna Pitts (from left) introduces other cast members Danelle Kerry, Tom Ross and Paul Elmer during a performance of a skit titled 'The Three Fractured Pigs.' The Stars of Light were performing at the Klehm Arboretum in Rockford as part of the 2012 Consumer Family Forum Mental Health Recovery Conference.

The Stars of Light Theatre Troupe performed Wednesday, June 27, 2012, as part of the 13th Annual Consumer Family Forum Conference. Rosecrance Experiential Therapies Supervisor Christine Nicholson also led two breakout sessions about drum circles and the importance of experiential therapies in mental health recovery.

This year’s conference, which was themed “Mental Wellness Recovery Journey Through the Healing Arts,” was held at Klehm Arboretum in Rockford, Illinois. About 100 people from Rockford and Chicago attended.

The Consumer Family Forum is planned by and designed for individuals with mental illness. The goals are to bring together people with a wide range of mental health experiences, to learn from one another and to share journeys of recovery. Social worker BethAnn Burazi was the keynote speaker for this year’s conference.

“It was great to get out in the community and help other healthcare professionals get inspired by non-traditional forms of therapy,” said Nicholson. “I think the event was a great success.”

The Stars of Light is a traveling theatre troupe composed of mental health clients who educate the public about mental illness and reduce the stigma that surrounds it while sharing their artistic talents and personal stories.

Rosecrance’s Experiential Therapies Department provides evidence-based therapeutic arts and recreation programs designed to promote personal growth and self-recognition through action-oriented experiences.

Rosecrance Health Network was a co-sponsor of this year’s conference, along with DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board, Mental Health Association of Rock River Valley, NAMI Northern Illinois, Sinnissippi Centers, Inc., and Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc.

Rosecrance expands McHenry County presence to prevent gap in services to families

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Family Service & Community Mental Health Center in McHenry closing June 30

Rosecrance McHenry County

Rosecrance McHenry County offers evidence-based outpatient mental health and substance treatment services in McHenry County.

Download this news release as a PDF

ROCKFORD – Rosecrance will begin offering outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment in McHenry County the week of July 2 in order to assure continuity of care to clients who will be affected when Family Service & Community Mental Health Center in McHenry closes on June 30.

Rosecrance welcomes the opportunity to respond to this crisis in order to prevent an interruption of service to hundreds of current clients. Individuals who seek services for the first time will be accepted, as well. Current staff members, who have been laid off, will be recruited to work for Rosecrance, which expects to hire more than 20 people.

The treatment center will be called Rosecrance McHenry County. In the beginning, Rosecrance will operate from the same location as the former Family Service & Community Mental Health Center: 4100 Veterans Parkway in McHenry. The goal is to minimize disruption to families currently receiving services and prevent a gap in care.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (Division of Mental Health and Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse) has assured Rosecrance of financial support and licensing. In response to the looming crisis in care, the McHenry County Mental Health Board (708 Board), has welcomed Rosecrance as a funded provider for county residents.

On Tuesday, June 26, the Rosecrance Health Network Board formally and unanimously voted to approve opening the new treatment center.

McHenry County residents already benefit from Rosecrance programs in a variety of ways. Almost 100 residents of the county annually seek inpatient treatment for substance abuse at Rosecrance in Rockford. The organization’s physical presence in McHenry County will provide these patients with a better continuum of care once they leave inpatient treatment.

Rosecrance also has ongoing collaborations with numerous community agencies, private clinicians and juvenile and adult probation departments. In addition, the organization has offered educational workshops and trainings for families and clinicians, and is a frequent presenter of drug prevention and education programs at area schools.

“We’re familiar with McHenry County, and our new services build on long-time partnerships in these communities,” said Rosecrance President/CEO Philip W. Eaton.
“We welcome the opportunity to help the McHenry County 708 Board meet the immediate crisis of care caused by the closing of a significant treatment provider.

“Going forward, we are committed to providing the same high-quality, evidence-based services in McHenry that have made Rosecrance a nationally recognized leader in the treatment field. A physical presence in the county will improve access to care for families and individuals seeking services.”

These treatment services will continue uninterrupted:

  • Adult and adolescent substance abuse intensive outpatient & individual treatment
  • Adult substance abuse medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) – Group
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) – Individual
  • Case management services
  • Child, adolescent and adult outpatient mental health services
  • Outpatient Family Night
  • Outpatient Incredible years
  • Psychiatric services and medication support for PSR clients

Rosecrance McHenry County is located at:
4100 Veterans Pkwy
McHenry, IL 60050-8350
Map and directions

Judy Emerson
Director of Communications
Rosecrance Health Network
1021 N. Mulford Road
Rockford, IL 61107
815.387.5605 (office); 815.262.4685 (cell)
Email: Email Judy Emerson here

About Rosecrance:
Rosecrance, a private not-for-profit organization, is a national leader in treatment for substance abuse and is one of the largest and most respected providers of community mental health services in the state. With almost 100 years of experience serving families, Rosecrance has the administrative structure, professional expertise and long-term stability to provide quality, evidence-based care for children, adolescents, adults and families who need care for substance use and mental health disorders.

Rosecrance celebrates patients’ graduation and recognizes staff for education milestones

Students celebrate the end of school and three students accept certificates

Nancy Golian

Rockford School District teacher Nancy Golian was recognized for her service to Rosecrance patients. Golian, who is retiring from District 205 this year, served the last four years of her public school career on the Rosecrance campus.

Download this news release as a PDF

ROCKFORD – Rosecrance had the perfect day for a picnic and a graduation celebration on June 6, as patients and staff came together to commemorate the end of the school year and to recognize education milestones.

A junior high school graduate and two high school graduates were recognized for their accomplishments at the event held at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus. Christine Nicholson, director of the Experiential Therapies Department at the adolescent campus, began the ceremony by presenting each graduate with an official certificate and a small gift. She also distributed client-nominated Recovery Role Model awards to patients who had best demonstrated leadership.

Campus Administrator Jason Gorham also recognized Rockford School District teacher Nancy Golian for her service to Rosecrance patients. Golian, who is retiring from District 205 this year, served the last four years of her public school career on the Rosecrance campus. Special education teachers from District 205 staff the onsite school at the campus.

Judy Emerson
Director of Communications
Rosecrance Health Network
1021 N. Mulford Road
Rockford, IL 61107
815.387.5605 (office); 815.262.4685 (cell)
Email: Click here to email Judy

About Rosecrance
Rosecrance is a private not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for more than 14,000 children, adolescents, adults and families each year. Rosecrance provides addiction treatment through inpatient and outpatient programs in Rockford, IL, and services at six offices in Chicagoland. Rosecrance offers community mental health services in Rockford and Belvidere. The organization was founded in 1916.

Six Weeks: Former substance abuse patient reflects on Rosecrance Healing Garden

Inspired by the writing of a former substance abuse patient, Rosecrance created a video showcasing the transformation of the Rosecrance Healing Garden at the Griffin Williamson Campus.

Each year, it takes about six weeks for the garden to transition from winter to spring – the same length of time as the average inpatient treatment stay for an adolescent.

This piece was written by an adolescent in treatment at Rosecrance in the spring of 2011 and narrated by a patient in the spring of 2012.

When I first got here, we were still in the final stages of winter
Everything was still kind of dead, and I was dead to myself
Then as spring began, and things started growing, I was growing in myself
I was learning what the root cause of my addiction was, and how to handle it
Meditating in the garden brings peace to my thoughts, and my heart

As the Healing Garden changes, people change, too.

June edition of the Rosecrance electronic newsletter published

The June edition of the Rosecrance electronic newsletter has published. This month, we’re highlighting the story of Patrick Garcia, an alum of Rosecrance’s Homeless Veterans Program who found stability and success in recovery. Read his story here.

The newsletter also includes Rosecrance Chaplain William Lenters’ Michael Q. Ford Journalism Award, the launching of youth recovery court, giving opportunities, upcoming trainings, news and more!

Click here to read the newsletter.

Click here to subscribe by email.

Rosecrance CEO: Unique services lead to same destination

Note: This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Reach, which publishes later this week. Download a PDF version of this article (1.1 mb).

Download a PDF version of this article (1.1 mb).

At a recent conference, a long-time colleague in the addiction treatment field asked to have dinner with me, and his opening question took me aback: “Where are you going with this new mental health effort?” he asked, and then he went on. “Is this a trend toward integration that we are missing? How’s it going?”

It occurred to me that some other people might be wondering where Rosecrance is heading. The wonderment may be occurring from two directions – from the substance abuse treatment perspective and from the mental health services direction. Both treatment areas have strong advocates.

To answer the last question first: The merger is going very well. On Sept. 1, we will mark the one-year anniversary of the formal merger between Rosecrance and the former Janet Wattles Center. Our early integration of services predates that by eight months, as the two organizations formally “affiliated” at the beginning of 2011.

Over 18 months, we have combined our back office functions to improve efficiencies in such areas as finance, human resources, purchasing and technology. Saving money was not the goal of the merger, but being more efficient never hurts and allows us to serve more people with the resources we have.

At the same time, we are making strides toward integrating services for people with co-occurring disorders. We are working toward a time when we can offer “one-stop shopping,” so to speak, to clients with dual diagnoses of substance use and mental health disorders. We were already doing that to some extent before the merger, and our progress in that direction continues to move forward. We are serious about recovery, and we need to treat the whole person.

Meanwhile, many of our services have remained and should remain distinct and unique from one another. Graphically, think of it this way: Say substance abuse services are contained within a yellow circle. Mental health services are in a blue circle. Push the circles together so that they overlap on one side to create a new area of green. Clients in the center need services from both sides.

While the number of clients who could rightly be placed in the green area is growing, Rosecrance still offers services that are unique to mental health and unique to substance abuse. We continue to embrace the evidence-based practices that lead to lifelong recovery, wherever the client fits in the interlocking circles.

The key concept is summed up in the word recovery. It’s where the rubber meets the road, if you’ll pardon the cliché. It is the unifying theme of what we do at Rosecrance, regardless of whether the client came to us for help with substance abuse, mental illness or both. And to my colleague who sparked this thought process: Thanks for asking.

As we continue to move our mission forward, please keep our board, our staff and the clients we serve in your prayers as we all go, by the Grace of God, one day at a time.

– Philip W. Eaton, President/CEO

Life reclaimed: Vietnam-era vet reaches goals after living on streets

Note: This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Reach, which publishes later this week. Download a PDF version of this article (0.9 mb).

Patrick Garcia is seen in front of a full-scale mural he painted on the Veterans of Foreign Wars building on 7th Street in Rockford. Garcia calls the mural his “comeback art.”

Patrick Garcia issues orders into a walkie talkie. A worker he supervises at the Millennium Center in Rockford applied the wrong kind of spackle to repair a hole in the wall, and Garcia doesn’t have time to take care of the situation before lunch. It’s a relatively small problem for Garcia, 58, but one he takes pride in remedying. He’s been building manager at the facility since July 2011. He considers it an amazing opportunity. And it really is, especially when you consider that just a few years ago, Garcia was homeless.

A traditional upbringing
Garcia spent the better part of his life behind bars. He endured two failed marriages. He missed out on relationships with two children. He lived on the streets. He blames all of it on drug and alcohol abuse.

But for more than five years – since 2006 – he’s been putting his life back together.
Patrick Eugene Garcia was born in 1954, in Plant City, Fla., the eldest of four children. He grew up in a traditional Catholic home – no swearing, no drinking and plenty of hard work.

Garcia describes his childhood as “exactly what you’d expect from that era.” His father was strict, but not harsh, and his mother was a nurturing homemaker. He tapped into his artistic side by the time he was 6, sneaking into his father’s study to watch him paint and draw. The discovery would spark a lifelong interest in the arts.

Garcia finds no fault in his upbringing, and doesn’t connect any dots that led to the turmoil he would encounter later in life. If you’re looking for where things began to go wrong, you could point to July of 1971, when he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17.

Because of his budding artistic skills, the Army trained Garcia as a medical illustrator. He remained stateside during the war in Vietnam, but developed survivor’s guilt after seeing his peers return to the U.S. with debilitating injuries. He was 18 when he began abusing substances.
“I was drinking a lot,” Garcia said. “Beer was a dollar a pitcher. It was just what you did. It’s what we all did.

“I started doing other things, too: Pot. LSD. Mescaline. Speed.”

It was the beginning of more than three decades of substance abuse. After the Army, Garcia’s abuse devolved from experimentation to addiction. It began with habitual glue sniffing, but his addiction would lead to other drugs, as well.

In trying to pay for his habit, Garcia was arrested several times for burglary and other financially motivated crimes. The abuse also cost him two marriages and relationships with his children.

“Crack cocaine was my drug,” Garcia said. “Most of my adult life – at least three quarters of it – I’ve been locked up. All of it was related to drugs or alcohol.

“None of my family wanted me around. My father passed away in ’93. I was in prison at the time.”

Road to recovery
In 2006, during his fifth stint behind bars, Garcia found himself eligible to leave prison on parole – provided he could find a residence. His case worker suggested the Rockford Rescue Mission, which would accept parolees and provide a permanent address. Without the program, Garcia would have remained behind bars until his sentence ended in January 2012.

The Mission put Garcia in a one-year recovery program and gave him an opportunity to practice his painting, drawing and other artwork – something he saw as the key to his recovery. It wasn’t long before he was commissioned to paint a full-scale mural on the Veterans of Foreign Wars building on 7th Street in Rockford.

“I found out later that my dad was very proud of my artwork, which meant a lot to me,” said Garcia. “That mural was kind of my comeback art.”

Garcia’s talent was noticed, and he was recommended to Brad Gilbaugh after completing the Mission’s program. Gilbaugh manages Rosecrance’s Homeless Veterans Program, which provides transitional housing to veterans while they search for full-time housing and employment. Garcia spent about a year and a half in Rosecrance supportive housing.
“The guy has had some tough breaks in life – all related to drugs and alcohol – but when I first met him, you could tell he had the potential to succeed,” Gilbaugh said.

Gilbaugh put Garcia in contact with Nancy Vaccaro, who gave Garcia a job at the Millennium Center drawing portraits on Friday nights. Garcia parlayed the opportunity into his current full-time job.

“He made his mind up he was going to turn his life around, and he did it,” Gilbaugh said.

Today, Patrick Garcia lives a life free of substance abuse. He’s reconciled with his
family – he plans to visit his mom, whom he hasn’t seen since 2003, in Denver later this year. He works during the week at the Millennium Center and practices his art during his off time. Local newspapers occasionally feature his artwork.

Garcia recently earned a promotion, maintaining all properties affiliated with the owners of the Millennium Center. Because of his position, he was able to offer a job to another person actively involved in Rosecrance’s Homeless Veterans Program.

“We’re very proud of Patrick,” said Susan Black, his case worker during his time in the Homeless Veterans Program, “and I know he’s very proud of himself.”

Garcia shares the credit.

“I often thank God, and the people who work in the facilities, for what they’ve done for me,” Garcia said. “I believe that being in the Homeless Veterans Program taught me to believe in myself again. I’ve had a chance to start over.”

About Rosecrance’s Homeless Veterans Program

The Homeless Veterans Program is a maximum two-year program requiring complete abstinence from substance abuse. Attendance at Veterans Affairs meetings is mandatory, and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-Step programs is encouraged.

Program participants live in a Rosecrance-run apartment for the duration of their stay. All money paid into rent is redirected into a savings account, which is then given to the veteran at the end of program to use for living expenses.

The goal of the program is to provide transitional housing while the veteran seeks full-time employment and housing.