LOVELOCK - Although the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health website lists the Lovelock Community Mental Health Center as a "partial" service clinic, a full range of mental health care services are available, according to Kathryn Baughman, agency director for Nevada's Rural Community Health Services.

Personal therapy and counseling are available by appointment at the Lovelock office overseen by Donna Rippelmeyer, center director for Lovelock and Winnemucca Counseling and Supportive Services and Mental Health Counselor II. The facility is also open on a walk-in basis to people in crisis who need immediate assistance.

Remote video-conference psychiatric treatment is also available during business hours with off-site mental health professionals able to prescribe medications, Baughman said.

"Due to the population level (in Lovelock), our clinic might look different but we try to provide mental health services during business hours," Baughman said. "There's only two staff members physically assigned to Lovelock but we do have travelling staff, tele-therapy and tele-psychiatric services to support that clinic."

The Lovelock clinic services

are available to everyone regardless of income and with or without insurance, Baughman said. Those without Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance can arrange to make monthly payments based on income.

Group therapy is not currently available at the clinic but will be organized as needed.

"I do not believe at this time they have groups going on," Baughman said. "Our caseload changes so when they're able to identify a group of individuals with a similar need, then they would design that group as a treatment modality."

The clinic assists with mental health issues at other facilities including county jails and hospitals. Rippelmeyer conducts screenings for suicide risk in the jails when asked.

Baughman said her agency is looking at formalizing a jail diversion/intercept program in the near future based on a preliminary community assessment

"They (jails and hospitals) are our partners in assisting people throughout the community," Baughman said. "As we move forward into our new division, we look at better partnering and integrated care with all community partners. We obviously need to do better in the promotion of our program and keeping people informed."

Baughman said she plans to help staff create a greater community presence and awareness of the local programs available at the Lovelock Mental Health Center.

"We need to get the center director out in the community more and information out at the sites where people are visiting, including any of our state offices," she said. "We need more of a presence but we could also do some collaborative programs in education at the schools and with the hospital folks - wherever we can. I'm open to recommendations."

When the mental health center is closed, information will be posted, including office hours and telephone numbers to call for immediate assistance, Baughman said.

"If someone comes with a mental health disorder trying to get some help and doesn't know what to do, we need to communicate with them by having signs posted," she said.

"It's good for people to know that there's always someone available to listen."

Baughman said her agency currently operates 13 rural clinics for mental and/or behavioral health and one integrated mental and public health clinic in Dayton. Along with other state health officials, including the community health nursing director and the mental health director, Baughman is planning a new outreach program for rural areas.

"We are coming up with a rural services-wide approach to educational outreach," she said. "For Lovelock, we plan to be out there either next week or the week after to meet with the hospital and talk about our next steps in partnering with them. Our rural and frontier areas need to be approached differently than our urban areas."

For those in need of assistance with emergency mental health issues after business hours, a free crisis phone number is available at 1-800-992-5757. The number will connect callers with trained staff and volunteers at the Crisis Call Center in Reno. The agency serves the entire state and beyond, according to Call Center Director Debbie Gant-Reed.

"State grants help to fund our suicide hotline and crisis intervention line for the entire state plus we take overflow calls from California, Arizona and Hawaii," she said. "We have a text-messaging service for teens and we just became the child protective services intake for all of rural Nevada. We are overwhelmingly busy."

The Lovelock Community Mental Health Center, located at 775 Cornell Ave., Suite A-1, is open during business hours Monday through Friday but is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call (775) 273-1036.