Crestwood Behavioral Health

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Larry Kamer

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Remembering a Crestwood Leader

As we commence our 50th year, we celebrate many successes and we recognize some losses. In late December, we had a significant Crestwood loss of one of our Board Members, shareholders and leaders, with the passing of MaryLou Glantz, at 87 years old.

MaryLou was with Crestwood for more than 30 years and championed many causes. She exemplified our Crestwood values and was above all, graceful. She was pivotal in opening doors for women in leadership at Crestwood. She was our first female executive and provided a roadmap for women to step into leadership roles in our organization. MaryLou served as the Vice President of Employee Relations, a member of the Board of Directors, and became Executive Vice President in 1997. This was an extraordinary achievement at the time for a woman in this field. She recognized the balance for women in supporting their families, while helping Crestwood become the leading provider of behavioral health throughout California.

Her legacy also includes being a champion for employees, she could find the synthesis of two sides to every story. Among her many talents, MaryLou also brought her ability to pull diverse groups of people together and created several taskforces and committees to make purchasing decisions, branding choices, and even to come to consensus on our goals, values and mission. These groups included people from the field, Administrators, and Home Office staff. Her grace carried many initiatives forward and her energy and dedication brought them to fruition.

As Crestwood celebrates 50 years, we remember MaryLou who left us with a rich legacy of achievements to be proud of today, but with her passing, a loss we feel deeply.


Coats of Love

For the first time this fall, Crestwood as an organization was excited to participate in the One Warm Coat Drive ( to collect coats to help those in need in our community to stay warm this winter.  One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need.

More than 20 Crestwood campuses participated in the coat drive, collecting a total of 776 coats! The month-long drive was also a competition between campuses, inspired by the generosity of American River Administrator Nancy Soncrant, to see who could collect the most coats. Coats were collected from Crestwood staff, clients and visitors and then they were donated to local charities in each community. Congratulations to the winners who collected the most coats this year-Freise HOPE House in Bakersfield and the Sacramento Home Office, each collecting 90 coats!  Idylwood Care Center came in third place with 50 coats collected and $200 in donations. Nancy said, “This drive really got us in the spirit of giving.  As leaders in the community, it is important that we spread our impact beyond our individual campuses – we have the power to make a larger difference, which I think this competition proved.”  Thank you to all those in the Crestwood community that donated, and keep your eyes out for future collection drive competitions! We are making a difference in our communities!


Congratulations Crestwood ALWF Graduates!

It is with great enthusiasm and anticipation that we announce our newly trained Crestwood Advance-Level WRAP Facilitators (ALWFs). The ALWF application, training and mentoring process is a commitment that comes with great passion and excitement from our newly trained staff.

In October, a select group of Crestwood staff attended the 5-day ALWF Course and learned how to train and prepare new WRAP Facilitators. These ALWFs are experienced facilitators with an in-depth knowledge and mastery of both WRAP and facilitation skills. Following the training, they will continue with the AWLF mentoring process in developing the skills and knowledge to train others to do this work faithfully and in a manner that is consistent with the evidence-based practice of WRAP.
Please join us in congratulating our inaugural Crestwood ALWF class, and look for them on your campuses as they support our WRAP Initiative and OWL Project!


Dreamcatchers 4th Annual Client Recognition Event

Awareness Month, Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network celebrated the success of their clients as they recognized those who have been hired during the past year.

The Dreamcatchers’ annual Client Success Recognition Event was held at the Holiday Inn in Sacramento and was a huge success with clients, families, and employers, along with state and county officials attending.  The day was filled with wonderful stories of perseverance and inspiration from their clients as they shared how Dreamcatchers and finding employment has changed their lives. There was not a dry eye in the house as family members shared how being employed has changed their loved ones’ lives.

This celebration event was a great way to honor and shine the spotlight on Dreamcatchers’ clients who deserve every bit of praise for their accomplishments and how they have taken charge of changing their lives. Congratulations to all the Dreamcatchers and their continued success!


The Crestwood Olympics Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

When a vision is followed up with decisive action everything is possible. Ten years ago after the 2007 Summer Olympics in China, our tenured Activity Director at Crestwood Solano had a vision. She wanted our clients across the company to be able to participate in their own Olympics. Before you knew it , we had podiums built, games planned, medals ordered, the celebratory lunch planned, and invites sent out to our sister campuses and voilà, we had our first annual Crestwood Olympics at a local park in Vallejo!

Every year this event has grown and evolved to include different campuses and new games. The opening ceremony, the music, the passing of the torch, the competitive events, along with the closing medal ceremony, has become part of the honored traditions for this popular annual Crestwood event. Over the years our games have included the javelin throw, the discus throw, the 50-yard dash, the long jump, the relay race, a basketball tournament, and this year we added an obstacle challenge course, with obstacle pieces custom built by our Solano team. The staff from our Crestwood campuses bring their “A” game when it comes to the our Olympics. Each staff person involved is a bright and shining mirror reflecting every single one of our Crestwood values. Our values of commitment and enthusiasm are especially evident every thrilling moment of this event!

This year marked the 10th Anniversary of the Crestwood Olympics and was attended by seven Crestwood campuses on September 28th. One client told us that he comes to the Olympics, “to give it my all!” This singular comment alone is the motivation that compels us to come together every year for this incredible event and reminds us of what is possible for our clients as they journey forward on the road of hope and recovery.


Crestwood Once Again Goes National at the 2017 PRA Summit!

Crestwood was one of the proud presenters at the 2017 national Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (PRA) Wellness and Recovery Workforce Summit that was held June 24-26 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2017 Wellness and Recovery Workforce Summit offers a comprehensive line up of in-depth psychiatric rehabilitation training and enhanced networking opportunities and special events to provide attendees with the tools they need to help others more effectively. Patty Blum, PhD, Crestwood Vice President of Operations, Ruth Gonzales, ALWF, Crestwood Wellness and Recovery Educator and Regina Kaiser, Executive Director of Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network, presented at the event with two presentations- Healing Community Trauma Through Resiliency and Healing Through Spiritual Practices with a Trauma-Informed Lens. Both presentations were very well-received from participants.

Crestwood was also one of the event’s sponsors and had a display table in the exhibitor hall, where Patty, Ruth and Regina, provided participants with information about Crestwood and Dreamcatchers, sharing the wellness and recovery work we do in building resiliency by providing our staff with the most advanced Evidence-Based Recovery Services training that is integrated into all levels of care for our clients. More than 1,000 individuals from around the world attended the conference. Thank you Patty, Ruth and Regina for doing such an amazing job representing Crestwood and Dreamcatchers!


Crestwood’s Amazing Team at WRAP Around the World Conference!

The annual Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery’s WRAP Around the World Conference was held June 5-7 in Sacramento. This conference brought together people in recovery, peer specialists, professionals, and supporters. It was a time to share with people from all over the world about wellness and recovery skills, strategies, and stories. Crestwood was not only a sponsor of the event, but also presented the Organizational WRAP Landscape (O.W.L.) project with the Copeland Center.

In addition to Crestwood’s O.W.L. presentation, two more Crestwood staff members participated in the conference. Our very own Greg Parnell, Director of Education at Crestwood Eureka and Crestwood’s Zumba instructor extraordinaire, led the Zumba Let it Move You classes and demos throughout the conference. And Linda Johnson, Director of Recreational Therapy at Crestwood Bakersfield, presented, as well as hosted a table; to showcase the WRAP games she has developed such as WRAP Family Feud, Jeopardy, Bingo, Old Maid and Candy Land. Linda’s motto is, “Playing well, keeps us well!”

We are so honored to have such an amazing, innovative and talented team representing Crestwood!


Freise HOPE House and SAMHSA Webinar

On May 22 Becca Ollivier (Administrator), Ronald Cordy (Recovery Educator), and Patty Blum (Executive Vice President), presented Freise HOPE House’s approach to crisis services as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint (NCTIC) webinar series, Trauma-Informed Innovations in Crisis Services.  This webinar was the second in the six-part series and was an amazing opportunity to showcase to a national audience Crestwood’s peer-operated services and the important role that peers play in the recovery of the people we serve.

We are so proud of Becca, Ronald and Patty for their excellent presentation and being incredible representatives for Crestwood!


Crestwood Healing Center wins Green Business Awards!

Congratulations to Crestwood Healing Center Pleasant Hill for winning not only the CoolCalifornia Small Business Award that recognizes California businesses that have made notable, voluntary achievements in reducing their climate impact, but also Pleasant Hill Community’s Green Business Award! Crestwood Healing Center received the Green Business Award at the 46th Annual Pleasant Hill Community Award Ceremony that was held on February 21 and received the CoolCalifornia Award on March 20 in Sacramento. Both awards are in recognition of Crestwood Healing Center’s Green Machine team that implemented many sustainability practices and changes, saving more than two million gallons of water and thousands of dollars by reducing usage of throwaway items such as plastic cups, paper napkins and paper towels. Their staff and residents also participate in community cleanup activities and do community education.

Travis Curran, Crestwood Healing Center’s Campus Administrator, said, “It was special in many ways, including the fact that the city that was worried about our impact 15 years ago is now celebrating it. Our staff and clients are thrilled and have something tangible to show that they do make a difference and contribute to their communities. This has been really awesome!”

Way to go everyone at Crestwood Healing Center! You are making a positive impact on our environment!


Crestwood Kicks Off the New Year with CRM Training!

Crestwood is excited to kick off 2017 with our pilot Community Resiliency Model (CRM) Training that was held the second week in January at our San Diego Campus. Trauma Resource Institute Facilitators led the two-day training where participants learned to not only help themselves, but to help our clients and others within a wider social network. The primary focus of this skills-based, stabilization program is to re-set the natural balance of the nervous system. CRM skills help individuals understand their nervous system and learn to track sensations connected to their own well-being, which is called the “Resilient Zone.” The goal is to help create trauma-informed and resiliency-informed communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma and chronic stress on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored or increased using this skills-based approach. Applying the skills proactively in distressed communities or neighborhoods can alleviate the symptoms of chronic stress by enhancing resiliency and empowering individuals to change their situation.

The next pilot CRM training will be held January 23 and 24 at our Crestwood Bakersfield campus. Upon completion of CRM Skills Training, participants may then qualify for our CRM Train-the-Trainer event that is scheduled for February 2017.

CRM Training will be a great resource for our clients and staff to help them with their self-care and wellness skills!

A quick orientation on what CRM is about:


Zumba Gold Comes to Crestwood!

Last year, Crestwood began offering Zumba classes to our staff and clients and trained 11 licensed Zumba instructors. Crestwood’s Zumba program is led by Greg Parnell, Director of Education at Crestwood Eureka. Greg travels to all of our campuses to help our licensed Zumba instructors plan their classes, help with choreography, and incorporate classes into program schedules. After the initial role out of Zumba in our behavioral health facilities last year, Greg determined it was time to bring the Zumba Fitness program to our skilled nursing and neuro-behavioral facilities. This specialized type of Zumba is called Zumba Gold and it is designed for older adults. Last month, Greg, along with 25 Crestwood facility staff members, attended Zumba Fitness’ Jumpstart Zumba Gold training class that was held in Newark, CA. Greg said, “The Zumba Gold training was amazing because it focuses more on lower impact and modified choreography and included a chair class for wheelchairs and walkers.”

After this latest training, Crestwood now has 35 trained and licensed Zumba instructors, which means that we have a least one or more instructors for each one of our campuses! These instructors will continue to lead the Zumba charge that brings such a spark of excitement and joy in our facilities that helps to energize the mind, body and spirit of those clients and staff who experience and embrace it in their lives.

And on an additional note on Zumba at Crestwood-we are very proud to announce that Greg received the Zumba Instructors Network (ZIN) Unsung Heroes Award for November 2016!! The Unsung Hero program recognizes ZIN Members around the world for their outstanding contributions to their communities, and for their ability to inspire others. Congratulations Greg!! You are an inspiration to our clients and staff and are changing lives with your passion and dedication to Zumba!


Honored in Kingsburg!

Crestwood’s President & CEO, George Lytal, and Vice President, Patty Blum, were honored on October 5, 2016 for their contribution in providing healthcare for the citizens of Kingsburg and surrounding communities with the opening of the Kingsburg Healing Center. A letter from Congressman David G. Valadao, who represents California’s 21st District, and a flag that was flown over our nation's capital in honor of the Kingsburg Healing Center opening, were presented to each of them at the Kingsburg Tri-County Health Care District meeting.

“I have worked in healthcare since the early 1970s and been recognized many times, but not like this. I’m so humbled and honored to receive this,” said George. Patty echoed George’s sentiments, “This is such a great honor to receive this recognition. We are so proud of the Kingsburg Healing Center and the work we do every day helping people and their families in Kingsburg and throughout California.”

The Congressman's letter states, "This American Flag was flown over our nation’s capital in honor of the opening of the Crestwood Kingsburg Healing Center and the tremendous work of Crestwood Behavioral Health in serving the citizens of California. Thank you for your dedication in overcoming the challenges that comes with providing people with accessible health services. I hope your center is able to continue to provide new hope for the men, women, and children of the Central Valley."


Let the Games Begin!

On September 29th Crestwood Solano hosted its 9th annual Crestwood Olympics at Dan Foley Park in Vallejo. The event was another huge success with 50 clients participating from the Crestwood programs of Solano, Sacramento, Vallejo, Pleasant Hill, San Jose, Napa Valley and American River. As one client observed, “We have a mental illness and we can overcome big obstacles. The power within us is the way to excel.” And excel they all did at events such as the javelin throw, relay races, discus toss and 50-yard dash. One client said, “A great experience. I liked the events, the food, and the other people. We had a good time. I won a medal for the 50 yard dash!”

Participants received a certificate to commemorate the day and were also treated to a picnic. One staff member commented, “The Olympic event is an opportunity to bring clients and staff from so many Crestwood programs together. It is a fun day of friendly competition and we are really looking forward to the 10th Annual Crestwood Olympics next year!”

Helen Okeigwe, Program Administrator at Our House, summed up the event, “The greatest memory during the Olympics was not only watching our clients receive their awards, but seeing all the staff and clients working together as a team gave my joy.”

Next year will mark the 10th Anniversary of the Crestwood Olympics and they are already gearing up for this exciting event! Let the games begin indeed!

(Photo) Crestwood Center Sacramento celebrating the Olympics!


Motivational Interviewing Comes to Crestwood!

Last week, more than 100 staff from our facilities participated in learning about Motivational Interviewing (MI). The two-day training was led by Kristin Dempsey, LMFT, LPCC, who is a Senior Associate at CIBHS. Motivational Interviewing is a form of collaborative conversation for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change. It is designed to strengthen an individual's motivation for and movement toward a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person's own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.

In the two-day training, participants learned about the “spirit” of Motivational Interviewing, the process of change, interaction techniques and strategies. They also learn how to identify, expand and work with “change talk.” Participants also learned that it is a skill that works well with our DBT program. The training then provided participants with the opportunity to practice MI skills in small groups.

Those who attended said they loved learning the MI skills and were excited to start using them with our clients to help them reach their recovery goals. MI provides our staff with another important skill that we can infuse into our programs to better serve our clients in their recovery journey.


Welcome Freise HOPE House!

On July 1st Crestwood assumed operations of Freise HOPE (Helping Others through Peer Empowerment) House, a 14-bed Crisis Residential Treatment program located in Bakersfield. Freise HOPE House adds a new type of program to our spectrum of services.

As a Crisis Residential Treatment program, Freise HOPE House provides a voluntary, short-term safe place to land for guests experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Our guests are greeted into a warm, homelike environment and we provide them with a variety of recovery-based tools such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP) and Trauma-Informed Approaches to help them to manage their symptoms and develop skills to live effectively in the community. The clinical treatment team is comprised of people with lived experience, who are trained and certified peer providers, with a wide-array of clinical expertise. Our guests are also encouraged to utilize our Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network program that provides pre-vocational job skills training.

We are very excited to welcome the Freise HOPE House staff and guests to our Crestwood family!

To learn more about Freise HOPE House, please visit our Locations Page, under Bakersfield.


Congratulations Mertice “Gitane” Williams-CPRS/ICPRS!

Crestwood is proud to announce that our own Mertice “Gitane” Williams is now a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and an International Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (ICPRS) by the California Consortium of Addictions Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). Peer Support Services involves advocating, mentoring, educating, and navigating systems, all of which are becoming an important component in our recovery-oriented system of care. The importance of the inclusion of peers with lived experience on teams with degreed clinicians is being increasingly emphasized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – in both addiction and mental health settings.

By Gitane becoming a CPRS/ICPRS signifies that she has demonstrated success in four domains- Advocacy, Ethical Responsibility, Mentoring and Education Recovery/Wellness Management, and can draw together resources and talents necessary to make recovery programming an integral part of our Crestwood treatment of services. There is a great demand for people who are Certified Peer Recovery Specialists in California and we are fortunate to now have our very own CPRS/ICPRS on our Crestwood team.

Gitane will continue in her role as Crestwood’s Vocational Wellness Educator, consulting with our Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network program, developing resource workbooks, and being a beacon of light within Crestwood and beyond.

This is an impressive international accomplishment for Gitane and Crestwood!


Crestwood Goes National at the 2016 PRA Recovery Workforce Summit!

Crestwood was one of the proud sponsors of the 2016 national Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (PRA) Recovery Workforce Summit that was held May 22-25 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 2016 Recovery Workforce Summit offers a comprehensive line up of in-depth psychiatric rehabilitation training and enhanced networking opportunities and special events to provide attendees with the tools they need to help others more effectively. Patty Blum, Crestwood Vice President, and Regina Kaiser, Executive Director of Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network, attended the event to learn more about best practices, evidence-based practices, integrated healthcare, wellness and supported employment.

Since Crestwood was one of the event sponsors, we had a display table in the exhibitor hall, where Patty and Regina, when they were not attending a session, provided participants with information about Crestwood and Dreamcatchers, sharing the recovery work we do in building resiliency by providing our staff with the most advanced Evidence-Based Recovery Services training that is integrated into all levels of care for our clients. More than 1,000 individuals from around the world attended the conference. Thank you Patty and Regina for doing such a great job representing Crestwood and Dreamcatchers!


Kingsburg Healing Center Opens!

On February 1st Crestwood proudly opened the Kingsburg Healing Center, a Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC), located in the city of Kingsburg in Fresno County. Kingsburg Healing Center is Crestwood’s ninth MHRC.

The Kingsburg Healing Center was developed through a public-private partnership between Fresno County and Crestwood in which Crestwood redeveloped the former Kingsburg District Hospital to make it into a beautiful 44- bed facility that serves Fresno County’s clients and families. The facility was designed to be a homelike therapeutic environment that aids in recovery for our clients. There are soft, soothing paint colors and art work that are used throughout the facility to help create spaces such as the serenity room, comfort room, welcoming room, dining room, library, living room and sitting room which feature television screens that show virtual fish tanks for creating a relaxing environment.

Kingsburg Healing Center’s innovative programs are based on Crestwood’s commitment to providing mental health clients a continuum of care that puts them on the road to recovery. The facility’s mission is to restore a sense of hope, empowerment, community/natural support inclusion and realized potential in each client, as well as psychiatric stabilization. Crestwood is honored to be able to provide these recovery services for our clients in Fresno County.


Crestwood a Sponsor of the 2015 Annual NAMI Conference

This year Crestwood was one of the proud sponsors of the 2015 Annual NAMI Conference, Bringing Communities Together, that was held in Newport Beach on August 21 & 22. The conference featured a wide-range of workshops that focused on topics such as Advocacy, Criminal Justice, Client and Family Engagement, Affiliate Leadership and Transitional Aged Youth. The conference attracted more than 300 participants.

As one of the sponsors of the event, Crestwood had a table in the exhibitor hall where Lynn Gurko, Director of Recovery Services, and Kari Friesen, Director of Communications, handed out brochures and newsletters, and provided participants with more information about Crestwood and the services we offer. It was a great event and Crestwood received an overwhelmingly positive response from participants.


crestwood behavioral health inc. receives 2015 carf accreditation for its continued dedication and achievement to higher standards

When an organization sets it goals to meet higher standards than is required by licensing agencies, payer sources, community stakeholders and industry standards, and then goes on to achieve those goals, it is remarkable accomplishment. Crestwood Behavioral Health Inc. is proud to have achieved just that remarkable accomplishment.


Crestwood Presents Trauma-Informed Approaches and Practices
Mutuality and Collaboration Webinar to a national SAMHSA Audience

On August 20, 2014, Crestwood’s Patty Blum, Vice President, and Mertice “Gitane” Williams, Vocational Wellness Educator, presented a webinar for SAMHSA to a national audience on Trauma-Informed Approaches and Practices: Mutuality and Collaboration. Patty and Gitane focused on Crestwood’s journey to become a Trauma-Informed organization, through education and training of staff and incorporating it into all levels of service company-wide. They also shared information on the important role peer providers play in our facilities, as well as vocation training and job placement through Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network. The presentation introduced Crestwood to a national audience and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

To view: click and select open link or copy and paste in browser:


Crestwood integrates the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a self-help recovery system designed to decrease symptoms, increase personal responsibility and improve client's quality of life.

Crestwood also offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in many of our programs. DBT is a form of therapy developed by Marsha Linehan Ph.D. founder of Behavioral Tech, LLC. DBT is an evidence-based practice used to treat clients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Crestwood enlisted Behavioral Tech, LLC to train our staff in DBT.



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in their own words

"Crestwood is the change we want to see in the world. The work that's done here is amazing."
Erin Reaka
Program Director
The Bridge