Alegent Health Reaches out to Youth with Opening of Contemporary Behavioral Treatment Center
Release Date: 07/11/2008

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Residential Treatment Center opens on Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center campus to provide comfort and healing to families and centralize organization’s behavioral health services.

OMAHA, Neb. – A Residential Treatment Center dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of area youth will soon open on the Immanuel Medical Center campus. Previously located at Midlands Hospital, Alegent Health wanted to centralize the organization’s behavioral health services and provide a contemporary setting in a quiet location.

“We designed the Residential Treatment Center with youth in mind. Therefore the facility features quiet spaces and warm, soothing tones so girls and boys can be comfortable and centered as they journey through their individualized treatment program,” said Sheree Keely, vice president of Behavioral Health Services for Alegent Health.

The Residential Treatment Center is one of the highlights of Immanuel Medical Center’s $88 million renovation and expansion project called Generation Patient. The 18,500 square foot facility features 20 private rooms for boys and girls between the ages of six and 18-years-olds.

Ben Carlson spent four and one-half months at the Residential Treatment Center due to aggressive behavior towards his parents when he was 12 –years-old. “I got really tired of being there and missed my family and I just decided that if I wanted to get out of here, I had to prove it to everybody, including my family.”

The Residential Treatment Center’s multi-disciplinary approach to therapy includes individual, group and family therapy. Ben said the center’s meditation rooms offered him a change to relax and find an inner calmness. He also learned effective self-control strategies. “I learned how to count to five in my head, take deep breaths to calm down and think of something positive to calm myself down rather than blurt out something rude or hit someone.”

A team of therapists actively work with the youth to build social and communication skills, discover inner strengths and build self esteem. During their stay – which can last up to seven months – the children attend school by certified teachers which focuses on an age-appropriate core curriculum. Kids also receive daily progress cards and earn monthly rewards and privileges for positive behavior. Optional Bible studies, spirituality group and visits from local youth groups also give children the opportunity to explore their spirituality.

“As a faith-based organization, Alegent Health believes very strongly that spirituality and religious traditions are a vital component to healing the body, mind and spirit. It’s part of our Mission and we want to make these opportunities readily available to the children, should they choose to take part of these practices,” said Ann Schumacher, vice president and chief operating officer of Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center.

Group rooms, outings and a centralized dining area allow residents to chance to socialize with other residents and help them make a smooth transition back into the community. For Ben, the results have been positive. He and his mom have open lines of communication and he’s looking forward to his Sophomore year at Westside High School.

“If it wasn’t for the Residential Treatment Center, I wouldn’t be here. I’d probably be in juvenile detention or someplace like that.”

Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, some 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and 9,000 employees. Alegent Health is making health care better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient-focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than 100 years ago. For more information about Alegent Health, visit or call 1-800-ALEGENT.