Nathan Fawson, associate executive director of the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, explained to community members at See, Hear Iola Friday what the center offers the surrounding area.
The center was founded in 1961 and has spread its services to six counties: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Linn, Neosho and Woodson.
The center offers psychiatric services, outpatient psychotherapy and crisis intervention.
Fawson began work with the center in 1996 as an intern.
“I was impressed with the center’s commitment to helping therapists learn and helping patients,” he said.
After Fawson graduated from Washburn University in 1997, he became a therapist for the center. Through the years he moved through departments. A few years ago Fawson left Iola to take a similar job in Branson, Mo. He and his family returned to Iola this past summer when Fawson came back to the center, this time in preparation to become its executive director.
Fawson explained how each service works for patients.
In psychiatric services they can see the patients face-to-face or through televideo which is available in the Humboldt, Garnett, Fort Scott and Pleasanton offices. This allows doctors to see patients more conveniently.
Outpatient psychotherapy allows therapists to learn how to understand the patient’s struggles.
“I started out as a therapist,” he said. “I valued the opportunity to understand the struggles the patients were having and serving clientele confidentially.”
The center’s Crisis Intervention Services are offered 24/7. Fawson said there is always someone available to answer the phones and assist the client in the necessary ways.
“We are able to support the patient and align them with the tools they need to work the crisis at hand,” he said.
They also help with community services for case management. Adults and children are referred by primary physicians for support services. This was a service Fawson especially enjoyed working in. In this area there is attendant care and parent support.
“All those in need will be served,” he said. “It is our moral and ethical obligation. It is set as a safety net to help those who need help.”
Fawson said he can see the results from the center within the community. When he returned to the center this last time to take on his current position he was approached by a patient.
“I was with my family on the square and a man approached me,” he said. “I never directly served this man but he said he was grateful for the center and credited its services for saving his life.”
“This center has become a part of me,” he said.
— Ted Clous, music director at Allen Community College, was the commercial speaker for the event. The ACC choir and band have been very busy this semester with performances and clinics. The department will have its choir and band Christmas concert on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Allen Theatre. A Tuba Christmas will be on Dec. 14 at noon in the Allen Theatre.
— Santa will be coming to town at 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 5.
— The next See, Hear Iola will Dec. 20 due to the holidays.
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