By Diane Keebler

Connection Writer

Dr. Mark Bailey, interim CEO of Creative Health Services (CHS), has a new vision for the regional role that behavioral health care can play.

The nonprofit agency is dedicated to providing mental health, partial hospitalization, drug and alcohol treatment, police liaison and school assistance programs for clients, or consumers (as Bailey refers to the people who seek therapy and other behavioral health services at CHS).

Bailey was hired as interim CEO based on his track record for helping organizations grow to their full potential. He believes CHS is going in the right direction.

"The consumer-oriented health treatment program is only one part of the recovery process," Bailey said. "The recovery effort needs to be a community effort and a family effort. Our goal is to have our consumers go to the next level and achieve independent, meaningful lives."

About 100 staff personnel and approximately 70 contractors, therapists and doctors work for CHS at nine locations, including Pottstown, Boyertown, Spring City and Pennsburg.

Between the nine locations, there are approximately 1,700 people in a treatment program and 150 consumers attending the drug and alcohol program every week at the Pottstown facility. CHS is also affiliated with 40 schools and provides assistance for approximately 600 students in the area.

One facet of CHS that Bailey felt needed to be expanded is school programs. "Our area is growing and children and youth are utilizing our services," he said. "We are responding to the growing population and need. The goal is to get children the help they need fast to prevent more suffering in the future and provide safe mental healthcare."

Recently, CHS led a successful pilot assistance program in Pottsgrove Elementary Schools. The agency is looking to begin a pilot elementary assistance program in northern Chester County.

Another program Bailey is trying to expand is the intensive outpatient program for consumers who are in need of psychiatric treatment. The day treatment program helps consumers structure time by attending life-skills management programs.

"We encourage our clients to be independent," said Lisa Buday, an intensive outpatient therapist at CHS. "The responsibility for wellness is on the client and we provide support to help them reach their goals."

To help the consumer move to the next level and become more independent, the life-skills program educates the consumer on how to manage a budget, general health and wellness, weight management and other necessary life skills in group sessions. Consumers also attend art therapy, music and relation groups and learn computer skills. Bailey is also designing a program for consumers to use the greenhouse attached to the back of the building as another form of therapy: allowing the consumer to concentrate on horticulture throughout the year.

Bailey says he has made a commitment to see CHS through this transition and believes the organization is going through an exciting time. He believes in the quality of his staff and he is determined to see his consumers achieve independent, meaningful lives.

"I have a fabulous staff and they are very committed folks," Bailey said. "The board is very proactive and we are going in the right direction. I'm very excited about what's happening here. We really are a vital health service to the community."

With a background profile as a director-level, non-profit educator, consultant, administrator, teacher and clergyman, Bailey has worn many hats throughout his career.

But it was a rare childhood disease that gave him the determination to pursue a life in social services.

"I was born with a rare disease and I overcame that with the help of all the wonderful people around me like my parents and the community," Bailey said.

As interim CEO, he is dedicated to helping the consumers at CHS with their struggles by way of making families and the community a part of the recovery process just as it was for him.

"To form healthy communities - that's what makes the country tick and makes our personal lives meaningful," he said.

"Community really matters."

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