News & Press
Community Wellness: Belding Ionia County Community Mental Health office set to expand
By Robert Lathers, LMSW CEO
Ionia County Community Mental Health
Posted Aug. 21, 2015 at 5:45 PM
Updated Aug 21, 2015 at 5:46 PM
This fall, the Belding office of Ionia County Community Mental Health on Storey Road will undergo an expansion that will radically increase access by people in the area on a number of levels.
Space in our Belding building (about 8,000 square feet), where we’ve been for 10 years and owned for one, is “maxed out," and this has limited our ability to add needed services to the community. Construction of an approximately 5,000-square-foot addition, designed by architects, engineers and planners Hooker DeJong, Inc. of Grand Rapids, will begin in the fall, with completion anticipated a year from now. (The firm also drew up plans for the Ionia County Courthouse annex.)
The ICCMH design for Belding will feature a state-of-the-art autism center, with a sensory facility to integrate with their treatment and an activity center for use by all our consumers. It will include trampolines to jump on; clay stations, indoor playground equipment and sandboxes to play in; and a fort with tunnels to climb through; as well as better access to restrooms. Autism treatment has a physical plant design that is ideal, which we haven’t had in our current space in Ionia, where our autism program is located now. The new facility is designed to serve children with autism and their families, rather than adapting existing space. It also will make access easier and reduce the stress of transportation for them.
The ICCMH autism program currently serves children up to age 6. In January we will expand to age 21, so more kids and young people and their families – not only in Ionia County, but also in Montcalm County and northwest Kent County – will have access to services without the need for extensive travel.
The building addition also will allow us to expand other existing programs, such as outpatient therapy, home-based services and psychiatric services, along with office functions. We plan to increase our outpatient treatment groups, such as anger management and adolescent activity, which has been limited to Ionia because of space limitations.
More room also will allow for the possibility of collocation with other agencies. The IM SAFE Child Advocacy Center, which has been providing services out of our Belding office for the past year, has moved to the United Way building in Fenwick, but we could do similar partnerships in the future with our increased square footage.
About 20 staff members operate out of Belding, and that number will increase to 30 after the completion of the building addition and the expansion of the autism program and other services.
We will continue to provide programs and services at our Ionia office on Apple Tree Drive and in Portland on West Bridge Street.
There is more exciting news coming soon from ICCMH. Stay tuned!
To learn more about Ionia County Community Mental Health, visit www.ioniacmhs.org or call 616-527-1790. If you have a mental health emergency, call the ICCMH 24-hour crisis line at 1-888-527-1790.