JoCo helps mental health patients reunite with their pets during treatment
The Johnson County Mental Health Center has partnered with BestyBnB, a Kansas City nonprofit, to provide temporary pet homes for patients seeking mental health and addiction treatment.
While the program is taking place at the county mental health center, the local nonprofit Friends of Johnson County Mental Health Center will help defray the cost of pet rehousing for county mental health patients seeking a treatment.
How it works: Through the BestyBnB website, owners can enter their location, dates needed for relocation, and their type of pet in order to be matched with a host family.
- The program covers relocation costs for up to 30 days while patients are in residential addiction treatment programs.
- “If someone has to come back on day 32 or something, obviously we’ll work with them on that,” clinician Michelle Burchyett said. “But the hope is that within 30 days we’ll connect someone with solid treatment and a reunification plan.”
- The partnership was launched in late August and has so far only been used by one county mental health patient in an emergency, according to the county mental health center.
- The launch of the program coincides with a recent request for mental health and crisis intervention resources in Johnson County.
- “Our goal is really to preserve that bond between animal and client,” Burchyett said. “Not only have they removed all barriers to seeking treatment, but they have this link to come back to – this reason to live.”
- BestyBnB has also worked with other local domestic violence centers including Hope House and the Rose Brooks Center.
Why is this important: Burchyett said the need to care for pets can often limit a patient’s treatment options.
- More than 70% of the county’s 59 mental health staff have had at least one client-refusal treatment in the past six months because they lacked temporary care for their pet, according to a recent report. county mental health investigation.
- “In the past, we’ve had vets who were willing to provide temporary care, but that resource has been harder to come by,” Burchyett said. “I think what we don’t know yet is how many people we’re going to see because they know there’s an option.”