On Friday, Houston Smelcer, senior director of development for Helen Ross McNabb Center, was in Morristown to receive a $10,000 check from HealthStar Physicians as a donation to the center’s capital campaign.
“This generous donation from HealthStar will increase access to quality, affordable behavioral health care for children, adults and their families,” Smelcer said. “HRMC uses support from the community to create a safety net for individuals who need care, regardless of their illness or ability to pay.
The McNabb Center officially opened its doors in Morristown in 2008, when it merged with New Hope Recovery Center.
Since then, HRM has identified a growing need to expand the facilities, which are currently being offered at two locations because of space limitations. Because of this HRM began the planning for the development of a permanent, standalone mental health treatment facility in Hamblen County.
In 2011, the Morristown City Council donated a 2.5-acre site for the development of a 7,000-square-foot facility to both centralize services and provide adequate operating space.
Co-chairs of the capital campaign are Citizen Tribune Editor/Publisher Mike Fishman and Morristown Attorney Denise Terry Stapleton.
Trish Hatfield, who presented the check to Smelcer, said the donation was the medical practice’s efforts to show its support for the county and the services HRM offers.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that without treatment for mental illnesses, the effects on society and the individual are staggering.
“The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion each year in the United States,” NAMI reports.
Hamblen County and East Tennessee are impacted daily by the effects of untreated mental illness in the community through overcrowding in area jails and emergency rooms, as well as the growing rates of drug use and suicide.
“With little or no resources for care, HRMC is often the only place for those living in poverty and/or with a mental illness to receive services,” Smelcer said. “Unfortunately, this population is often overlooked and under-served.”
Once completed, the new Morristown center will be able to increase its capacity by 50 percent, which will allow access for individuals from rural communities who are also suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues to be treated.
For more information about donating to the HRMC Foundation’s Annual Fund Campaign, visit mcnabbcenter.org/donations.php or call 865-541-6684.
-By Denise Williams, Tribune Staff Writer