Turning Point Adult Behavioral Health at Saint Mary’s Regional Health System has remained at 80 percent capacity since opening in October 2011.
Turning Point accepts adults between the ages of 18-64 diagnosed with mental illnesses for short-term psychiatric treatment. The average stay is between three to 10 days.

Director Tommy Eddy said patients are referred by physicians, psychologists, social workers, social service agencies, law enforcement and family or friends.

“We receive referrals from many agencies and not just from here in Russellville,” Eddy said. “We receive referrals from Clarksville, Fort Smith, Mena and Little Rock. There is a real need for in-patient treatment facilities in the area.”

Eddy said many patients are admitted for short-term observation or to stabilize existing medications.

“People that suffer from chronic mental illness will stabilize on medication and think they no longer need the medication,” Eddy Said. “That’s when they can spiral out of control fast and require in-patient treatment. Other times, patients just need short-term observations to regulate medication.”

Turning Point and out-patient clinics work jointly to provide the best treatment plan for patients.

“We accept referrals for in-patient treatment and then we rely on clinics to provide out-patient treatments for our patients,” Eddy said. “Every patient is discharged with a treatment plan, even patients who live out of the area.”

Community education manager, Tonya Gosnell, formed a mental health networking group meeting bi-monthly.

“People are sometime embarrassed by mental illness and choose to self-medicate rather than seek professional treatment,” Gosnell said. “That can lead to drug addiction and other problems. The networking group is designed to keep related agencies working together to better treat mental illness.”

Agencies interested in joining the mental health networking group can call Gosnell at 967-0701 or email her at tonya.gosnell@saintmarysregional.com.

by Heather Sprinkle for the Courier