Boulder Community Health is creating a new mental health care program that uses Boulder’s place in the environment as therapy.
The hospital system said that its new Pathways Partial Hospitalization Program and Pathways Intensive Outpatient Program both will use mindfulness-based techniques, coupled with nature-based care, to engage patients in outdoor activities that build resilience and help overcome mental health challenges. Patients will participate in group therapy sessions that support positive relationships and social connections.
According to information from BCH, both programs are designed to help individuals 18 and older:
- Recognize and understand their mental health issues.
- Find positive solutions to address these concerns.
- Connect with others who have similar issues.
- Create new experiences in nature that aid in well-being.
“The Pathways programs are a valuable complement to BCH’s existing behavioral health services,” Dr. Robert Vissers, BCH president and CEO, said in a statement. “Both programs can be an effective transition for patients stepping down from inpatient care as well as patients who require more extensive assistance than outpatient counseling provides.”
Both programs will start providing in-person services to patients in October. Pathways PHP debuted in July as a virtual program, but is transitioning to solely in-person sessions:
- PHP is a 10-day program that runs five days a week (Monday-Friday), four to five hours per day.
- IOP is an eight-week program that runs three days a week (Monday-Friday), four to five hours per day.
“Pathways’ combination of hands-on nature-based activities and group therapy sessions will enhance each patient’s social health, which is essential to physical and mental well-being,” said Dr. Wesley Tate, the psychiatrist who developed the Pathways approach. “Connecting patients to each other, to meaningful activities and supportive community organizations, can help overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness. Those connections also foster a sense of meaning and purpose in life.”
Both Pathways programs can help individuals with:
- Dual diagnosis: substance abuse with mood disorder
- Trauma-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Treatment-resistant conditions
The Pathways team will collaborate with local nature-focused organizations such as the city of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department to provide patients a range of guided outdoor activities held in natural spaces throughout the Boulder area.
The development of Pathways is the latest step BCH is making to expand its mental health services. In 2019, the organization opened the $45 million Della Cava Family Medical Pavilion to provide expanded adult inpatient care and state-of-the-art facilities for outpatient counseling and electroconvulsive therapy services.
© 2021 BizWest Media LLC