By Jamie O’Toole
In the world of healthcare, mental health is overlooked and undertreated. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in every five Americans has a mental disorder, yet less than one-third of affected adults and one-half of affected children receive treatment. The Brazos Valley region has lacked a psychiatric health facility and has for more than 15 years, which means inpatient services in Houston, Temple, and Austin have been among the closest available.Rock Prairie Behavioral Health will provide the opportunity for people to be treated closer to home when it opens in College Station on April 8.
The new psychiatric hospital will eventually hold 72 beds and offer inpatient and intensive outpatient care for patients of all ages. CEO Dr. Duane Runyan explains the multidisciplinary staff will include psychiatrists, nurses, medical physicians, therapists, and other trained personnel to meet the individual patients’ needs.
“If there is a need, we will provide that care,” says Dr. Runyan. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Runyan understands the importance of addressing the full spectrum of each patient’s needs, whether mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional. “It is truly humbling to be able to be an advocate for patients and their loved ones, and that is what we are trying to do here.”
Dr. Runyan says the hospital is not intended to house patients long-term, but provides a place of safety for people who may be a hazard to themselves or others while receiving the care and treatment needed to give patients hope and purpose as they reenter the community. The facility encourages families to be involved in the rehabilitation process.
“Our motto is: Helping families put their lives together, one piece at a time,” explains Anthony Moore, director of business development. “Now there will be a resource in town and we are honored to be here to offer these services to our community.”
Initially the hospital will house only adults, a decision that was made after assessing adult psychiatric emergencies as the greatest need locally, according to Dr. Runyan. By August, he says the timeline is to have programs for children and adolescents with seniors programs available by September.
Rock Prairie Behavioral Health will also supply new job opportunities and partnerships with multiple agencies throughout the community.
“We are most interested in hiring from the area, as there is a tremendous amount of expertise in Brazos Valley,” says Dr. Runyan.
The hospital will work in conjunction with the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Brazos Valley, local law enforcement, hospitals, and churches. Agreements have been made with both Texas A&M University and Blinn College to provide internships and other training opportunities for nursing and medical students.
Dr. Runyan and Mr. Moore invite the community to the hospital’s open house on April 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
“We are just one piece in the puzzle,” says Dr. Runyan, as he describes the new role the hospital will play in the Brazos Valley. Dr. Runyan and Mr. Moore express that the goal for Rock Prairie Behavioral Health is to be a part of a bigger picture, serving the community by giving stability and hope for a healthier future.