Clearwater Mental Health Center Expands, Adds Docs

We're happy that you've chosen us and we're going to walk beside you as you embrace this journey. You are our first priority. We will protect your privacy, restore your hope and focus on your strengths.

These are the promises a new fountain in the lobby of Clearwater's Directions for Mental Health makes to clients entering the building for services.

April Lott, Directions' new president & CEO, has revitalized both the services Directions provides and the buildings that house those services. Improvements include moving its children's services to a family-friendly Largo location, installing a welcoming lobby with a trickling fountain, adding two in-house physicians and using tele-medicine to reach those who need mental health services but have no transportation.

Lott says that the investments were worth it, given the economic impact Directions has on the community.

"Our economic impact is exponential," says Lott. "We serve over 9,000 clients every year. Those 9,000 individuals are a part of families and businesses. Our services allow them to be productive members of the community and prevent them from becoming homeless or placed in jail."

Lott says the installation of the lobby fountain and the message inscribed on it, were especially poignant for her, given that a family member struggles with mental illness.

"She said every time she went for help, she felt unwelcome. They didn't even look at her. I didn't want people who walk in here to feel that way,'' says Lott. "When I started working with the architect, Shoreline Designs Group, I told them that I wanted the lobby to be welcoming; that I wanted a water feature that communicates our promises to our clients.

"After the fountain was built I shared the promises with my family member. I asked her, 'Would this make you feel welcome?' And she said 'Yes. That would do it.' "

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: April Lott, Directions for Mental Health

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