Spindletop Center brings mobile mental health services to Kountze

Clients of the Spindletop Center in Hardin County now have one more place to access care.

The center opened its mobile RV clinic Tuesday in Kountze. It’s part of an effort by Spindletop to reach more rural communities in southeast Texas.

The Kountze clinic is one of three awarded to Spindletop through funding from the Moody Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other grants.

A second mobile clinic will open in Chambers County within a couple of months, according to Spindletop Center CEO Holly Borel.

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The third clinic, which does not have a fixed location, is used for travel to public awareness events and can also be used for disaster response and recovery.

The Kountze clinic, located across from the Hardin County Courthouse, will be available for Spindletop clients to visit every other Wednesday, beginning August 10, so the center can see what kind of demand the area has .

“(People see us) for major depressive disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, as long as they’re Spindletop clients, no matter what the diagnosis is, whether they’re in this area or just want an appointment for whatever Whatever the reason, they can come to this clinic,” said Jennifer Earp-Thornton, clinical supervisor for Spindletop Center’s North Region.

Spindletop, which serves around 12,000 people a year, currently has a facility in Silsbee. Still, some customers can’t afford to travel from Kountze to Silsbee, let alone Beaumont, Port Arthur or Orange, because of high gas prices, Earp-Thornton said.

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“(Clients) had to choose between eating or going to the doctor,” he said. “Some people are walking distance from this clinic, which makes it much more accessible when they can come and get their medication. And if they get their medication through us, we bring it here, so they don’t have to drive to Silsbee to get it.” either. It’s really more accessibility.”

Two clients can use the mobile clinic at the same time. In the RV, there is a station for a customer service representative where customers can complete paperwork, another station for customers to meet with a caseworker, a separate nursing station where customers can take their vital signs, and a assessment before meeting with your provider virtually in a separate area of ​​the clinic.

Appointments must be scheduled as space is limited, Earp-Thornton said. Customers can call the Silsbee location at 409-385-7463 to schedule an appointment.

Currently, since the clinic’s soft opening in June, Earp-Thornton said they have seen about seven clients a day.

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However, the clinic is not just for Hardin County clients. Earp-Thornton said Beaumont customers can choose to visit the Kountze location for services if they choose.

Borel said the idea for the mobile clinic came about when he took office in 2018.

“A lot of the early access to services was really centralized in the Beaumont region,” he said. “So if people in Port Arthur or Orange, Kountze, Silsbee wanted to access mental health care, they had to physically come to Beaumont to do an admission and those admissions can last all day. Sometimes it really was an difficulty for people who needed care.

Borel said he wanted to decentralize access and make services available in the various places they serve: Hardin, Jefferson, Orange and Chambers counties.

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Hardin and Chambers counties, however, are more rural and therefore more challenging because Spindletop doesn’t necessarily have physical locations in those areas.

“We had the opportunity after (Tropical Depression) Imelda, the Moody Foundation, the Episcopal Health Foundation together got some grants in response to those disasters,” Borel said. “That, in addition to (tropical storm) Harvey, (there were) several (grants) that came in a row and we saw that opportunity to be able to buy the mobile clinics.”

Hardin and Orange County Spindletop Center Regional Director Amber Woods said staff are figuring out how to operate and manage the mobile clinic as they go without a plan to follow.

But, he said, with a support team, anything can happen.

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“There was no plan, but what there was was a group of people who had specialties who came together and helped make this happen,” he said.

There is still a lot of work to be done to complete Borel’s vision, he said, but it’s gratifying to see some ideas come to fruition.

“When we’ve worked a couple of years on something like this, to be able to see it roll out and get started is very exciting,” he said. “People are really excited about this, our staff love it. When you work in social services, you don’t do it for money. We’ll never be able to pay (our employees) what they’re worth, funding alone isn’t right for that. But they work because they have a heart for it, it’s their personal mission to help people.”

For more information or help, contact the Spindletop Center at their website Spindletopcenter.org, or toll-free at 1-800-317-5809.

If you find yourself in a crisis, contact Spindletop’s 24-hour toll-free crisis hotline at 1-800-937-8097.

The Hardin County Courthouse is located at 300 W Monroe St in Kountze.

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