"Transitions" offers new way to treat mental illness in Eau Clai - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

"Transitions" offers new way to treat mental illness in Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Mental health professionals say there aren't enough resources in the Chippewa Valley for people struggling with mental illness. Though a new program in Eau Claire could be a step in the right direction. 

Next week, Eau Claire's Mayo Clinic Health System will begin offering a new partial hospitalization program to people who need help managing their mental health but have not had success with traditional outpatient services. 

It's called "Transitions". It's a Monday through Friday program that allows people to live at home while receiving treatment. There's room for as many as 20 patients, who will spend their days learning new coping skills and how to lead successful lives while managing mental illness. 

"There are people who are struggling who don't want to be hospitalized, and I think that this provides the perfect alternative to that," said Karlene Phillips, the Director of Inpatient Behavioral Services at Mayo Clinic. "You get to have treatments. You get to go home at night, and you are still getting a quality level of care." 

Other local health officials said they're happy to see new resources come to the area, though they'd like to see more focus on prevention. 

"How do we keep people strong and mentally well and not put all of our resources just toward treating the problem," said Lieske Giese with Eau Claire's City-County Health Department. "We certainly need to do that, but if we start spending some more time and energy and funding up front, maybe we won't have as many people that are suffering so badly from mental health consequences." 

Staff at "Transitions" plan to start accepting referrals to the program on Monday, May 1 and will begin treating patients on Tuesday. They said people have been calling for about a month now, looking for more information about how to join. To make a referral, they ask you to call 715-838-3417. Staff said the program can be paid for with insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. 

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