Riveredge CEO resigns to open private practice


Carey Carlock has resigned as CEO of Riveredge Psychiatric Hospital in Forest Park after 13 years in this role. Her resignation letter to her colleagues and staff looked more like a love letter than a resignation letter, she said, and she plans to stay connected and involved. She still sits on the board of directors of UHS, the parent organization that oversees Riveredge.

“My position at Riveredge has been the privilege and the responsibility of my career, but it’s about time,” said Carlock. “The team is well placed and I will stay connected. “

Her plans now include starting a private therapy practice, featuring what she calls “navigation of care,” a service badly needed by families with mental illness.

Construction on its new office space in the Oak Park Arts District will begin in July, and Carlock expects Mosaic Counseling and Wellness to open in early 2022.

“A mosaic is created when a lot of broken pieces come together to create something beautiful,” Carlock said of the name. The focus of her practice will be “well-being, not illness,” she explained, “care full of hope because treatment works.”

Many people who try to access mental health care find that it is not as easy as it should be. There is no roadmap for mental and emotional well-being, and even the starting point is not always clear. Where can I find a therapist? How do you know if they are good? Will they take your insurance?

Many therapists go out of business for weeks or even months, especially if you are looking for a childhood specialist. Medical management is usually performed by a psychiatrist, who is seen separately, and patients must sign waivers so that the doctor can speak to the therapist and vice versa for dose adjustments. But communication is not always effective or efficient. And, of course, there is the stigma of mental health in general.

“People are struggling,” Carlock said. “Compassionate care exists, but there is not enough access to timely, safe and culturally appropriate care. That’s why I’m doing this.

Carlock’s idea of ​​navigation in care means Mosaic will be a one-stop-shop for mental health care. The practice will have a psychiatrist and therapists on staff, so medication management can be done in one place by professionals working together.

“I want to make access to the mental health system more welcoming,” Carlock said. Part of this is providing resources. If someone comes to Mosaic in need of assistance that Carlock cannot provide, such as intensive outpatient services or care for an eating disorder, the Mosaic treatment team will provide recommendations on the location. where the person will be best served.

Mosaic will serve people of all ages and will include family and group counseling. Family therapy will be available not only for family units with problems in their relationships, but also because the mental health of a family member can affect an entire household, and parents, for example, might need counseling. to help their child.

“It’s about how to associate with a loved one even if there is no family conflict,” Carlock said.

Group therapy will also be available at Mosaic, and the Oak Park Arts District setting lends itself to this, along with plans to incorporate art therapy like music, drama and dance into its convenient.

“Some people are not as open to talk therapy,” said Carlock, who admits to having “an unbridled bias towards the creative arts.”

At Riveredge, there is a strong art therapy program, and this is something she plans to implement at Mosaic as well. She remembered a group of boys who started each session with a circle of drums. Participants listened to each other and focused on keeping pace with each other, which helped them form a team, making conversation and communication easier later.

She herself recently attended an improvisation class for therapists, and she said it was something she was considering using in a social anxiety group at her new practice.

During her time at Riveredge, Carlock has spoken often about ending the stigma associated with mental illness, and it’s still her biggest mission as she embarks on her new path.

“What other disease would you have had where you would suffer in silence?” ” she asked. “It’s courageous to ask for help. We need to change the narrative. We must suffer less.

Over the past 13 years at Riveredge, she said, the hospital itself has undergone changes.

“Riveredge was involved in its own recovery, in a way,” Carlock said. Upon arrival, she realized the importance of bonding within the community so that Riveredge is not just a hospital sitting alone on Roosevelt Road. She worked hard to build relationships with village officials, the Chamber of Commerce and other businesses.

“It has been gratifying to see Riveredge emerge as a place of integrity and a place ready to listen to what the community needs,” she said. And that goes back to its overarching goal in general mental health: to expand the narrative about access to timely, safe, and culturally appropriate care.

Riveredge is currently looking for a new CEO, with Kurt Gunther being the interim.

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