Clearwater Mental Health Center Gets Fix-Up

A stalwart member of the Clearwater/Largo community has undergone a major transformation in recent months.

Directions for Mental Health moved its first-floor children's services to its new satellite location in Largo, which allowed the Clearwater headquarters to build a formal lobby and extend its patient care space. The lobby renovations include a semi-circular reception desk, tile flooring, and a planned fountain dedicated to promises it has committed to fulfilling its consumer base.

"When I got here about two years ago, I thought the building was old and out-dated, and it didn't feel warm and welcoming," says David Lomaka, president & CEO of Directions. "It didn't feel like a place I would want to go to if I was a consumer. And so my preference was to make it a place I would want to go to. I always say, when I send somebody here, I want them to feel good about getting help."

Since 1982, Directions at 1437 Belcher Road in Clearwater has provided Pinellas County residents with affordable, accessible care for those at risk or facing mental health challenges. However, demand for services over the past 25 years left little room for a proper lobby and little time for spatial planning.

"We have seen a sharp increase in both children and adults seeking mental healthcare over the past few years, so the additional space comes as a welcome relief for our staff and clients," says Lomaka.

In August 2010, Directions opened a satellite office at 8823 115th Ave. N. in Largo to house services for children under age 18 and their families, as well as adults seeking counseling, psychiatry and case management services. In addition to client care, the 11,000-square-feet children's office will also host early childhood parenting classes, consumer advisory meetings and educational seminars.

"We have been very pleased with the feedback from our clients at our Largo office," says Lomaka. "Some clients have gone so far as to send us a 'thank you' for creating a warm atmosphere for them or for their children."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: David Lomaka, Directions for Mental Health

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