GOSHEN COUNTY – Peak Wellness Center is combining its Goshen and Platte county offices to form the Northern Region Clinic, and Essie McCall, LMFT, will be its new director.
She was previously the Clinic Director in Platte County since November 2019. The Northern Region Clinic will maintain the two locations already in Wheatland and Torrington, but will operate under “one mission,” McCall said.
“It improves our ability to have open access,” McCall said. “Somebody can call in and they will be able to get a clinical assessment that day or start services that day, which was a struggle before because we weren’t pooling our resources like we are now.”
Peak Wellness provides affordable mental health care, including life assistance, substance abuse treatment and youth and family services. Albany County Clinic Director Christin Covello, Ph.D., LPC, said as directors, her and McCall’s job is to not only supervise within the office but also to build connections within the community.
“Whether that’s marketing or also looking at different task forces that we can be on to address some of the community needs,” Covello said.
Peak Wellness is the gatekeeper in Goshen County and its other service areas as part of Title 25, a Wyoming statute that states a person may be detained when they are deemed a danger to themself or others due to mental illness. The gatekeeper is a single entity that is responsible for determining what is the appropriate treatment for at-risk patients, according to the Wyoming Medical Society.
“We work together to determine, ‘does this person need to be placed in a psychiatric facility where they can be stabilized before coming back to the community,’” McCall said. “If they don’t need that and they have support that (is) currently in place in the community, then that would mean a safety plan or maybe they do need some additional support and so they can get therapy services.”
McCall said Wyoming is unique in this statute and commitment to helping people re-enter society after a mental health emergency.
Torrington Police Chief Matt Johnson said policing in a small town like Torrington provides an opportunity to de-escalate situations with people in crisis and to hopefully help them before they need to be detained in an emergency.
“We’d always prefer to have a relationship based contact and get the chance to work with someone before they’re in a state of crisis when we have to take that kind of an action,” Johnson said. “And when we are able to do that we have some great resources they can work with, including Peak Wellness Center.”
Police officers often have to make quick decisions in cases where someone might be a danger to themselves or others for mental health-related reasons. He said the 72-hour detention within Title 25 is a “stabilization technique.
“We try to make a compassionate, low level contact, we try to get the facts about what’s going on,” Johnson said. “And once we understand that, and we know where we need to go from a legal perspective, we bring that person to the emergency room or to a physician or mental health professional, and they really take that from there. They make the determination about how long that person needs to stay in a restricted environment.”
Peak Wellness also has a working relationship with Goshen County School District No. 1. Torrington High School principal Chase Christensen told The Telegram students who receive out of school suspension go to Peak Wellness.
“We want to make sure we’re actually addressing the problem,” McCall said. “There are some of these consequences of, ‘why is a kid getting in trouble at school?’ We can focus on just giving them punishment and hope that corrects it, but is there something else going on and can we get to the heart of that issue?
“There’s got to be something underlying and we try as much as possible to make sure that the mental health support comes along with time out of school,” Christensen said.
Covello said schools can also refer students to Peak for a suicide assessment, if necessary.
Though Peak has facilities in four different counties, Covello said all facilities support one another and work together to support their communities.
“Wyoming is like one huge small town, to some degree,” Covello said. “The fact that we are in four different counties really built a connection for all of us to be able to support one another.”
Peak Wellness in Torrington is open Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit PeakWellnessCenter.org or call (307) 532-4091.