Jerry Bottelberghe

Mental health facility proposed for Minneota

Would cut travel, provide valuable service to youths in SW Minnesota

Jerry Bottelberghe knows the importance of having a mental health facility for youth in our area.
During the last Lyon County board meeting on July 21, Bottelberghe, along with Dr. Maureen Sander-Staudt, Professor of Philosophy at Southwest Minnesota State University, and Beth Wilms, the Director of Southwest Health and Human Services, asked the county commissioners to consider their proposal to build a $2.4 million mental health facility in Minneota for those aged 6-13.
"There is a great need for this type of service," said Bottelberghe, who has had his own private practice for seven years in Minneota and has worked in the mental health field since 2000. "That came from meetings with the Human Services in Marshall.”
"This all began about 1 1/2 years ago when I asked a county commissioner if there was a need and I was directed to talk to Family Services."
Bottelberghe has worked with young people that have SED's, as a child-abuse coordinator, and in a non-secure facility for major depression, schizophrenics and other issues.
"Every person has a story to tell, and they need someone to tell their story," he said. "Sometimes their stories have a lot of stress or issues of abuse or issues of depression or conflict. I offer them a place to express themselves and work towards a solution that helps them."
Bottelberghe has received valuable input on the need for the facility from Family Services, pastors/ministers, law enforcement, school personnel, EMS, lay person, Dr. Sander-Staudt and Wilms.
There has been ongoing discussion to have the facility located in Minneota, although more details have to be confirmed before it can be finalized, Bottelberghe said.
"The facility would not exceed 15 beds and it could be very long term," said Bottelberghe. "There would be about 14-plus employees that have varying degrees and experience."
Children in the aforementioned age range are currently being placed on average stays of 9 to 12 months, Wilms told the commissioners.
The proposed cost of $2.4 million comes from a state-certified architect who has experience in buildings of this type. That amount includes everything for a completed facility, Bottelberghe noted.
Currently, the nearest facilities known of this type are located in Willmar, the Twin Cities and Sioux Falls, SD.
"This not only makes it harder for young patients to achieve their well-being, but burdens families who need to travel long distances to visit and offer support," Sander-Staudt told the commissioners at the board meeting.
County Commissioners expressed an interest in the proposal for the mental health facility, although they requested that Bottelberghe seek more input on the need and the funding from other counties since this would be a multi-county resource.
"The funding comes from many resources," Bottelberghe said. "The county will be one resource, private pay is another, insurance is another and any donations to help the operating costs are always welcome."
Bottelberghe knew going into the Lyon County board meeting that money is tight during this economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. And he understands the lengthy process to get funding from resources such as the various counties before this project can get off the ground. But he also know the great need for this facility.
"There are many steps to this process," said Bottelberghe, when asked what the next step is for seeing this facility come to fruition. "Get funding, secure a place to build, get the correct license for the facility, acquire a 24-hour staff, and have clients."
Bottelberghe is passionate about the importance of this facility and the children and families it will benefit.
"This is important or I wouldn't be doing this," he said, bluntly.

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