TREMONTON -- The new Bear River Health Department and Bear River Mental Health Services have a new kind of holistic partnership, says Jill Parker, health department spokeswoman.
The health and mental health departments are now housed in the same building at 440 W. 600 North.
An open house and ribbon-cutting are scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 5 to celebrate the partnership in the new location. The community is invited to attend.
"This is a building where mental health and community health all share one facility," said Lou Ellen Brown, Bear River Mental Health Services clinical supervisor.
Bear River Mental Health provides individual, group and play therapy. Children will not sit down and talk about their concerns, Brown said, so the therapists will facilitate play therapy. There are shelves full of stuffed animals, toy soldiers and even a carnivorous tyrannosaur. Children use the dinosaur to act out aggression, she said.
Bear River Health Department had a building in Tremonton but moved to Brigham City in 2008 when the Tremonton Police Department expanded and needed the space.
Bear River Mental Health has offices in Logan, Brigham City and Randolph. It had offices in Tremonton, but has now relocated to this new building.
The relocated health agencies will serve Box Elder County's communities and towns in the Bear River Valley, Parker said. Both agencies used reserved building funds to finance the project, so no loans or bonds were required.
In addition to all public health and mental health services, the location will provide substance abuse services, Lloyd Berentzen, Bear River Health Department executive director, stated in a news release.
The new 14,000-square-foot facility is where the old Bear River Valley Hospital used to be. The health department will continue to provide compliance checks for alcohol and tobacco, temporary and professional food-handler permits, immunization clinics, drug tests, the Women, Infants and Children nutrition programs and other services.
Bear River Health Department figures show much of the $8.7 million budget went to substance abuse programs, which came to $2.1 million.
The vast majority of the health department's workload in 2011 -- the most recent figures available -- came from drug tests, which added up to 13,077 tests. The next-highest total was food-handler permits, which came to 4,185 permits.
People with substance-abuse problems also will be treated at the new facility. The top six drugs abused by adult clients are alcohol, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, "other" and cocaine, in that descending order. "Other" includes hallucinogens, inhalants, barbiturates and over-the-counter medications.
The drug-abuse profile for clients younger than 18 is slightly different. Health department figures show marijuana is used most often, followed by alcohol, methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine and hallucinogens, again in descending order.
People in substance-abuse programs are especially likely to benefit from the partnership. Many people who are dealing with substance abuse have what is called a co-occurring disorder, such as depression, Brown said. Because of this and other challenges many people face, she said, this new facility enables people to benefit from the multiple services provided in one building.
Mental illness is a part of life most people will experience at some time, Brown said. Depression, for example, is very common.
"Sometimes we think mental illness is something that happens to someone else," Brown said.