Mental health complex in planning stages

Cease Addiction Now Behavioral Health is trying to raise $250,000 by about the end of the year to put together a capital campaign to build a facility to serve mental health needs not only of east Harris County and Chambers County, but of the region.

A local nonprofit that has worked quietly for years addressing mental health concerns is aiming big to make a big impact on that huge problem — one that has only gotten worse with the strains brought on by COVID and social stresses.

CAN Behavioral Health is trying to raise $250,000 by about the end of the year to put together a capital campaign to build a truly unique cutting-edge facility to serve mental health needs not only of east Harris County and Chambers County, but of the region.

CAN President John Havenar and project supporter Mike Wilson brought the project to Kiwanis Club in an effort to gain support.

CAN has been active since 2007 when it began its efforts with a focus on addiction (CAN is an acronym for Cease Addiction Now).

It operates out of offices at 401 W. Texas Avenue (the round former savings and loan building) and also an eight-bed facility for male residential clients.

“Shortly after we started the program we determined that substance abuse for the most part is an outcome of something deeper so it went to a full appreciation and a full exploration of the mental health issues that we have,” Havenar said.

Treatment offered now includes multiple levels of services for all people in the community including but not limited to depression, anxiety, addiction, domestic violence, theft and anger 

management issues, serving both insured and uninsured clients.

Wilson said that last year about 10% of Baytown EMS calls were related to mental health.

“We have an increase in students that are having mental health breakdowns at the college level,” said Marissa Moreno, executive director of school and college partnerships at Lee College.

Susan Jackson, deputy superintendent of administrative services for Goose Creek CISD said that according to research about one out of five adolescents exhibited some kind of mental health disorder before the COVID-19 pandemic; the number is now three out of five, she said.

The ultimate dream of the team leading the effort to create a new mental health center is a large-scale truly unique facility offering a full continuum of care, including outpatient, inpatient and supportive living units on a 120-acre campus.

The initial $250,000 goal would pay for necessary consulting, planning and fundraising services to approach major foundations and other potential supporters as well as gaining local support.

Preliminary plans are for a total project cost of about $125 million over four phases of construction.

That would include five 24-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital units to accommodate men and woman, both adult and adolescent, two 48-bed residential treatment facilities and facilities for outpatient and day treatment.

Also envisioned are three 200-bed long-term transitional living dormitories.

The group has assembled a task force and steering committee that includes community, business and political leaders as well as members of the medical and mental health community and representatives from the City of Baytown, Baytown Fire/EMS and police and Chambers County.

To donate or schedule a presentation contact Havenar at 281-427-4226. For more about CAN Behavioral Health, visit canbh.org.

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