West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Strives to Identify and Meet Community Needs so People Can Heal … Emotionally and Physically
By Hilary Dartt
Everyone wants—and deserves—to feel well, both physically and mentally, said Tamara Player, the Chief Executive Officer of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic (WYGC).
Now more than ever, health professionals are focusing on treating the whole person, in terms of physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
Across the country, Tamara said, “Providers are looking at, ‘How do we provide better treatment?’”
When she started in the field 26 years ago, providing in-home services to at-risk youth and families, mental health services and physical health services were “really separate. The most I would do is occasionally talk with a pediatrician. Now the expectation is to coordinate care, so we don’t duplicate services and better meet the needs of the individual.”
To that end, primary care doctors screen for mental health issues, and mental health providers screen for physical health issues. This way, they can help patients achieve holistic wellness. In fact, WYGC has added primary care services to its outpatient clinic.
Tamara said she and the members of WYGC staff work to make a difference every day in the lives of local residents.
“Our role is not only to be here with people are at some of their most vulnerable moments,” she said, “but also to change, adapt, and meet the needs of the community.”
In fulfilling that role, collaboration with community partners is key, Tamara said. It’s also one of the things she loves best about Prescott: “We come together to solve problems, to help ensure our neighbors’, friends’, and family members’ needs are met in our community.”
The WYGC Crisis Stabilization Unit, a single-point triage center serving people in mental health crisis, is one example of such a collaboration between the WYGC, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, and the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office.
Another: Complete Care Partners, a partnership between WYGC and Spectrum Healthcare that provides pre-trial diversion services for drug offenses, through an agreement with the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office. The goal of this program, which launched in May, is to address all aspects of a person’s life to create stability.
“We treat the whole person,” Tamara said. “It doesn’t do any good to treat someone’s substance use if they don’t have a place to live. That’s not conducive to stability in someone’s life. [Complete Care Partners] is … whole-person care. It’s emotional, physical, educational, employment, housing, and food security.”
After noticing gaps in local services, WYGC also added two new nontraditional treatments: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (which administers magnetic waves to target deep brain structures that impact depression and OCD symptoms) and Cognitive Function Development Therapy (which uses game-like activities to increase neuroplasticity—which improves management of emotions, concentration, and more).
Finally, WYGC strives to provide services quickly.
“The system has really changed that way,” said Tamara. “Years ago when I first started in the field, it could take 30 to 45 days for someone to access behavioral health appointments. Today, we offer same-day appointments. Our goal by the fall is to have same-day office appointments for psychiatric services—before now, that could take months.”
“We want to offer responsiveness and availability,” Tamara said. “This is so important. It takes a lot of courage for someone to reach out and call when they’ve been experiencing depression. When they get that 30 seconds of courage, we can meet them where they’re at right then.”
West Yavapai Guidance Clinic strives to be on the leading edge of whole-person care, Tamara said, by identifying and meeting needs within the community.
For more information, visit https://www.wygc.org or call 928.445.5211. If you need immediate help, call the crisis hotline at 928.445.5211 ext. 3900.
Need to Talk?
When you cut yourself and need stitches, you go to the doctor and get them. Whether it’s one stitch or a dozen, those stiches close up the cut so you can heal.
Yet, Tamara Player, Chief Executive Officer of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, said, when it comes to mental health, it’s easy to dismiss or minimize our own feelings of anxiety, symptoms of depression, or impacts of isolation. Many people feel they have a great life and just need to “deal with it,” or “get over it,” because they “shouldn’t feel that way.”
If we had a physical illness or injury (like a deep cut requiring stitches), we would seek treatment. Especially with everything going on in the world today, lots of people are experiencing isolation and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Even if you know you have a good life, and a good support system, talking with a mental health professional can help you work through those feelings more quickly.
To talk with a mental health professional at WYGC, call 928.445.5211. The Crisis Stabilization Center is at 8655 E. Eastridge Drive in Prescott Valley.