BY CHERYL ALEXANDER
Connections Wellness Group, with several metro area locations including a new location in McKinney, offers meaningful, life-improving solutions resulting in positive changes to patient wellness. The care they provide is convenient, cost-effective, accessible, and holistically enriching.
Shanna Dugan, executive director of the new McKinney location, said, “Connections Wellness Group provides mental health and substance use treatment to those in the community by identifying the needs, developing programming, and growing with the community.”
Connections Wellness, which first opened in 2018 in Denton, works with individuals across their lifespan and at varying levels of care. Industry research revealed a gap in services for adolescents. This need has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. The new location in McKinney is an answer to that gap.
“We have started an adolescent-specific program for ages 13-18. Individuals who are 18 must still be in high school to qualify,” said Dugan. “The program includes intensive therapy and medication management. To identify what type of care is needed, every person that calls in seeking treatment completes a screening to evaluate current mental health and substance abuse, and a level of care is recommended. In the same screening, we additionally evaluate a patient’s need for a specialty trauma group.”
The higher level of care offered at Connections Wellness is known as PHP (partial hospitalization program). At this level, every adolescent receives one hour a day of psychoeducation on different topics affecting their mental health and one hour of skills building groups (coping, nutrition/dietary needs, medication education and compliance, mindfulness, and meditation). The PHP patients also get two more hours of process therapy each day where they analyze and process the stressors within their life that affect their daily functioning.
Each program also offers educational services to ensure their patients are not falling behind. Through their partnership with an accredited private school, Connections Wellness offers two hours per day of academic instruction and support for each teen. Additionally, therapists help patients identify and manage at-school stressors and coordinate with the schools on how to alleviate school-specific stressors.
Weekly family engagement sessions determine how progress is occurring at home, what issues are surfacing for the child in their group, how the family can support child from home, and how to best support them when discharged.
At this level, each patient receives intensive medication management, sees their psychiatrist twice weekly to manage and make necessary adjustments, and sees a nurse twice weekly to check in on their physical well-being.
IOP (intensive outpatient programming) includes all the same therapies, skill-building, education, family involvement, and medication management as the PHP. The only difference is these patients see the psychiatrist once a week. Both levels of care offer a variety of experiential therapies such as art therapy, nutritional therapy, nursing education, and music and movement as positive ways of fostering energy.
Other Benefits Include:
- Transportation assistance
- Virtual sessions as needed
- Collaboration with outpatient providers
- Collaboration with district teachers and school counselors
- Future expansion to include ages 10-12
- In network with all major insurance companies and Tricare
7290 Virginia Parkway, Suite 3100
McKinney, Texas 75071