Behavioral health programs focus on addictions

Published 12:04 am Sunday, November 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — Marc Taylor and Iva Ward are in the business of helping people.

Taylor and Ward facilitate the behavioral health programs at Natchez Regional Medical Center and recently the program has begun offering new ways to help.

Natchez Regional’s behavioral health department recently opened a new outpatient treatment program and Taylor said now he and Ward can offer more intensive treatment for patients.

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That includes chemical dependency counseling, individual, group and family counseling, medication management, treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Taylor, a nationally certified professional counselor, and Ward, a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, have the tools to help in the recovery of many in the Miss-Lou, they say.

And they are ready to help a community that is in need.

“A large percentage of people in this country are chemically dependent,” Taylor said. “It is part of our community, too.

“Some cases can be handled in an outpatient setting, and that is what we can do.”

The program Taylor offers to chemically dependent individuals in intensive counseling to identify the root of the chemical dependency and then a plan to recover.

Taylor offers one-on-one counseling and also group sessions, when available.

And it is all done locally, a plus for the recovery process, Taylor said.

“If we can keep someone at home, at their job and within a community they know, that is key in a successful recovery,” he said.

But sometimes that isn’t possible, Taylor said. Then Taylor taps into the network of behavioral health and recovery practitioners to which he is connected.

“If we can’t help you fully here, we will get you to a place that can do that,” Taylor said. “Many times, the programs here are successful, but we have had cases that have needed more inpatient treatment than we can provide.

“We don’t turn anyone away.”

With Ward’s licensing as a nurse practitioner she is able to offer medication management for her patients, a service offered by few in the local area.

The combination of her skills she and Taylor posses create a haven for those in need.

“There is a short supply of mental health professionals in the area, and we’re the one place that you can have outpatient therapy, alcohol and drug and inpatient hospitalization as a continuum of treatment.”

A new outpatient behavioral health treatment area at Natchez Regional has recently been created providing counseling rooms and offices and a private entrance that gives patients a safe, private atmosphere in which to heal, Ward said.

“When someone walks in that door, everything that goes on is private, confidential and judgment-free,” Ward said. “No one will know what you are here for. That entrance could be going anywhere. This is a safe environment.”

Taylor said in order to be the genesis for healing, trust is the first thing to be established.

“We offer a supportive, encouraging environment with unconditional positive regard for everyone,” Taylor said. “There is a lot of work tat goes on on the front end to make sure the individual feels safe to do the work they need to do to recover.”

Ward said the success stories are numerous and seeing a real change in someone who wants to change is the positive she takes home from work each day.

“Every one has made mistakes, messed up, but we all also deserved second, third and fourth chances,” she said. “We have the chance to really impact a person or a family and we take that responsibility and privilege very seriously.”

One of the biggest problems is actually getting people to take advantage of the program, Ward said.

“There are usually feelings of embarrassment or shame,” Ward said. “It is hard for people to ask for help, but that is what we are here to do.”

For more information on the behavioral health programs at Natchez Regional Medical Center call Taylor at 601-443-2131 or Ward at 601-443-2557.