DLC Launches “Hope for Collier” Initiative to Address Mental Health Crisis: $10 million Leadership Gift from the Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation

DLC Launches “Hope for Collier” Initiative to Address Mental Health Crisis: $10 million Leadership Gift from the Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation

Naples, Fla. – From its inception in 1968, David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) has been providing life-changing and life-saving programs and services for adults and children with mental health and substance use challenges in Collier County. DLC, along with its supporters, has for the last 55 years risen to changing and growing community needs by expanding services for Collier’s most vulnerable citizens. Now serving about 9,000 individuals annually at six locations with more than 350 staff members, DLC provides more than 340,000 unique treatment services in its more than 40 residential, outpatient, and community-based programs. And today, DLC announces its single largest philanthropic gift in its history: a $10 million investment from the Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation.

The Mental Health Crisis in Collier County

With the landscape of mental health services constantly challenged and affordable options for services throughout Collier County decreasing dramatically, this community is facing the worst mental health and substance use crisis in its history. The explosion in Collier County’s population, combined with the great psychological toll of the last five years – including two devasting hurricanes, the COVID pandemic, opioid epidemic, and suicide crisis – has exponentially increased the number of people needing care.

DLC continues to be challenged with the lack of space to provide additional outpatient care. The lack of inpatient crisis beds, addiction treatment beds and supported housing, causes clients to experience long wait times or has forced those in need to seek treatment out of the county. Some are not able to access treatment at all.

Compounding the crisis is the limited availability of highly trained and experienced staff in Collier. The individual-clinician ratio in Collier County is 930:1. In Florida, this ratio is 550:1 and in the United States, in general, it’s 300:1. Rising housing costs and poor reimbursement rates pose a significant challenge for recruiting and retaining the most talented physicians, APRNs, nurses, clinicians, and other providers required to staff a comprehensive licensed and nationally accredited community behavioral health center like DLC.

To address this crisis and meet these needs head on, DLC’s leadership has identified that a significant investment in capital improvements and professional staff is required. This includes building new and renovating existing state-of-the-art buildings at DLC’s Bathey Lane campus along with construction of the nearby Collier County Behavioral Health Center that DLC will operate; adding vital new clinical services; and employing teams of highly trained and credentialed practitioners to make those services possible.

The Solution: Hope for Collier: Building Stronger Minds Together Initiative

DLC’s solution to this crisis is the Hope for Collier initiative – a collaboration between DLC, Collier County, entrepreneurs, and private philanthropists – resulting in the following significant capital and program investments:

Collier County Behavioral Health Center

The county, through a one-cent sales tax, has contributed $44 million to build the Collier County Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC), which is scheduled to break ground in 2024. DLC has used its 5-acre parcel of land, parallel and near its main campus, to build this facility. It will provide emergency screening and triage around the clock and greatly expand the number of crisis beds for adults experiencing a serious mental health crisis.  The 60,000 square-foot CCBHC will include 45 crisis stabilization beds, 30 licensed hospital beds, and 12 emergency intake/evaluation beds. In comparison, DLC’s existing crisis stabilization unit houses 30 general crisis beds and 3 intake beds.

DLC Bathey Lane Campus Improvements

To maximize treatment space, the DLC main campus has been reimagined and a new master site plan has been developed. Renovation of several existing campus buildings will allow for enhancement and expansion of the highly successful Crossroads residential substance-use treatment facility and detoxification unit as well as the Administration Complex and on-campus Genoa Pharmacy. In addition, two new buildings will be constructed.

The new two-story 25,000 square-foot Van Domelen Children’s Center for Excellence will include all children’s programming under one roof, incorporating a new 30-bed children’s crisis stabilization unit, which will double the capacity of the current DLC children’s unit. Children and families will also access triage services, partial hospitalization/day treatment, outpatient therapy and medication as well as intensive community-based care. The new children’s center will also include space for an expanded nursing, counseling, and social work internship program as well as prevention and education programming for adults, children, families, and the broader community.

Concept Rendering of the new Van Domelen Center (provided by PK Studios)

Construction of the 13,500 square-foot Access and Integrated Care Center will offer evidence-based treatment reflecting the current standard of behavioral healthcare practice, including:

• Urgent care/convenient care model for assessment and care.
• No appointment required, real-time behavioral health intervention and assessment.
• Intensive outpatient drug treatment, both on-site and telehealth.
• Medication assisted treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders.
• Specialized trauma focused therapy for veterans.
• Integrated mental health/physical health outpatient programming, both on-site and telehealth.

In addition, the building’s design will support workforce development and training activities, including training rooms and clinical group and individual counseling spaces designed to allow observation for clinical supervision and training of nursing, counseling, and social work interns.

Best-In-Class Professionals Recruitment and Retention

The initiative includes a new Best-In-Class program for recruitment and retention of highly trained and experienced staff. This investment in DLC’s staff will provide financial support to pursue specific tactics dedicated to targeted recruitment, competitive benefits packages, and continuing education training for employment of the most competent behavioral health professionals at all levels along with the creation of career ladders and increase in long-term employee retention.

Programs and Access to Care for All

Through the initiative, DLC is committed to increasing access to care for community residents, allowing DLC to identify those services where there is the greatest demand and then increase staffing to provide increased services without having to rely on additional public funding. This capability to self-fund program expansion, or use funds to match local, state, federal, and private sector grant opportunities, will allow DLC to keep better pace with community needs over time. It will also allow for the early adoption of new, promising medical and therapeutic innovations.

“With one in four children and adults locally experiencing mental health, emotional, or psychological challenges, and one in seven suffering from substance use issues, it is abundantly clear that the time is now for DLC to advance and expand our leadership as the primary provider for all community mental health needs,” said DLC CEO Scott Burgess.

“There is no health without positive mental health, and to truly have Hope for Collier, we must work together to build strong and resilient minds, and that means a greater investment in behavioral health care,” Burgess said. “This $144 million-plus public-private partnership will make significant strides to address this historic crisis. We are grateful to have over $70 million in funding already secured through support from the county, from private donors, and through DLC assets.”

Supporting Our Most Vulnerable: $10 million Leadership Gift

The Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation has awarded DLC a transformative gift of $10 million as part of Hope for Collier: Building Stronger Minds Together. This investment will support DLC’s Best-In-Class program, specifically focused on recruiting and retaining professionals for evidence-based children’s programs. Additionally, the investment will support the construction of the Van Domelen Children’s Center for Excellence on DLC’s main campus.

“After learning about the skyrocketing youth mental health crisis and DLC’s impressive plans to address it, we were convinced that investing in Hope for Collier at this critical time was a significant priority for our Foundation,” Julia Van Domelen said. “I’m hopeful this leadership gift to the David Lawrence Centers inspires others to support our community’s most vulnerable citizens – our children.”

“The new state-of-the-art, Van Domelen Children’s Center for Excellence will create a customized space for children in an environment that is ripe for healing and will impact generations for years to come. The Van Domelen Foundation’s investment will ensure that the beautiful new space is extremely welcoming, warm, and supportive. It will also accommodate new, specialized areas for play therapy and group space for DLC’s holistic community partners to bring in equine therapy, pet therapy and fitness programs,” Burgess said.

“Creating a facility like this will allow for the expansion of new evidence-based children’s programs, doubling the number of children currently being served, and this will undoubtedly help with recruitment of the best treatment professionals to provide this life-saving care,” he continued. “To say we are grateful for the Van Domelen Foundation’s support is an understatement.”

 About David Lawrence Centers (DLC)

Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) is a national leader in providing compassionate, advanced, and exceptional mental health, substance use, and integrated healthcare solutions, available for children, adolescents, and adults. DLC’s innovative treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services – a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, DLC serves 9,000 people through 342,000 treatment sessions. To learn more about how to support Hope for Collier: Building Stronger Minds Together, contact Kimberly Dye at 239-304-3505 or kimdye@dlcenters.org.

Jan 30, 2024 | News & Events, Press Releases

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