Crossroads Open House provides glimpse inside program

ST. MARYS - The Crossroads Partial Hospitalization Program hosted an open house on Thursday afternoon where community members were invited to tour the program's new facility, which opened in July inside Elk Regional Health Center in St. Marys.The program is made available through Dickinson Center, Inc. and serves area adolescents ages 11 to 18 years old who are experiencing emotional and/or behavioral symptoms associated with a mental health diagnosis. Students involved in the program reside in Brockway, Cameron County, DuBois, Johnsonburg, Kane, Ridgway and St. Marys Area school districts. "Today what you see is the success of a partnership between Elk Regional and Dickinson which continues to grow and mature. We welcome that partnership, being able to accommodate the program here at the hospital," said Gregory Bauer, Elk Regional Health System president and CEO. "It was a nice fit and we're really proud to see the results of this. A very modern, a very convenient, a very safe place for the Crossroads program here at Elk Regional. We feel the services compliment our healthcare services by having them here on our medical campus."The new facility is located on the third floor of the original ERHC building, former site of the hospital's pediatric wing and more recently the dialysis unit. It is separated into multiple rooms, including a standard classroom, group therapy room, doctor's office, conference room, cafeteria/kitchen and administrative offices/lobby.Crossroads Program Director Tonya Wolfe welcomed visitors while various staff members described the details of each portion of the program, which includes class work, group therapy and psychiatric services.Currently there are 14 students enrolled in the program, all of whom must have an Axis 1 mental health diagnosis such as mood disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia and anxiety disorders; meet the medical necessity criteria for a partial program as determined by a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or primary care physician; and have a history of less restrictive mental health treatment, be "stepping down" from residential treatment or have recently experienced an acute onset of symptoms that seriously impairs their ability to function outside of a day treatment program.The goal of Crossroads is to provide services that will allow adolescents to decrease symptoms which cause disruption to their day-to-day functioning while remaining in their home. As part of their school day, students attend the program from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year. Their treatment consists of daily group therapy, medication management, academic support and individual and group therapy as needed. Continued therapeutic support, without the academic component, is provided through a summer program.Pick up a copy of the Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.