Southeast Mental Health Services Holds Ribbon Cutting on Medical Campus

Becky Otteman and J.C. Carrica

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Southeast Mental Health Services Clinic were held on October 4, 2011 and the ribbon cutting for the brand new, 4,300 square foot facility was held this past Tuesday, August 7, 2012.  The ribbon was cut by Lupe Rogers, Beverly Sanders and Suzanne Bailon.

Ribbon Being Cut by Lupe Rogers, Beverly Sanders and Suzanne Bailon

Becky Otteman, CEO/Executive Director for SEMHS told the gathering she was happy that she and her colleagues will now be able to join the other facilities at the health care campus on Kendall Drive in Lamar.  Otteman recapped how, in 2006, she and Bob Whaley, the former executive director, drove past the vacant lot when he told her to stop, as he wanted to take a look at the site.  “I knew we were going to get loaded with stickers as soon as he started walking in this field,” she said, adding, “Bob just said that this was going to be our future site for the new building.”  Otteman told the gathering, “Our new presence at this site is a signal for anyone who requires health care, that you have a place to go for assistance.”   

She stated that the SEMHS staff in Lamar will become integrated with the other health facilities on the campus, noting High Plains Community Health Center and Prowers Medical Center, to provide integrated and coordinated services for anyone throughout Prowers County and the region.  

Local Crowd on Hand for Ribbon Cutting

Southeast Mental Health Services employs 75 persons in the six county region and just added six new employees with the opening of the new facility.  Otteman also noted that local members contributed $8,000 themselves to the construction of the building. 

Executive Director, J.C. Carrica said the former site on First Street in Lamar will still be in use.  Carrica said it will become a clubhouse of sorts, serving as a location to train some of the clientele in the Choices Program, while Partners for Progress will move into the new facility.  Carrica said the move will help reduce the split between primary medical care and behavioral health, enabling all the medical providers to share and coordinate care more easily.  The six new hires will be ‘navigators’, helping coordinate mental health care with the High Plains Clinic and Prowers Medical Center. 

The Monument, Dedicated to Bob Whaley of SEMHS

Otteman told the gathering of the special site at the rear of the new facility, honoring Bob Whaley.  A six-foot tall, split stone monument will be capped with a small statue of a bear.  “The monument has been designed that on Bob’s birthday, December 26, the sunlight will shine through and on to the bear, which will serve as a reminder of Bob for all of us,” she said.

By Russ Baldwin


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