Spirit award

Emily Farley Child & Family Services, News & Notes

Julie Berndsen, lead waiver facilitator, is the 2018 recipient of the Sandra Shaw Spirit Award. The award, named for the late Bert Nash CEO, is the highest honor a Bert Nash employee can receive. Julie’s parents, Dennis and Debbie, were on hand for the presentation. Congratulations, Julie!  

Pioneer Award winner follows in friend’s footsteps

Emily Farley News & Notes

If you ask Jean Milstead how she ended up serving on some board or getting involved with some organization, she has a common response. “Because of my friend Shirley Martin Smith.” Milstead and Smith first met in 1976. They’ve been friends ever since. “When I met Shirley, I immediately felt like I added a new member to my family,” Milstead …

Building bridges

Emily Farley Residental Housing Services

Bridges, the Bert Nash Center transitional home, received a makeover, thanks to a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation. Bridges team leader Rachel Neill and lead residential case manager Eddie Velez recently gave a tour of the remodeled space. Neill said the revamped space, which included new flooring and furnishings, is intended to be functional, inspirational and therapeutic. Neill also …

New Child and Family Services director’s own experiences inspired career path

Emily Farley Child & Family Services

Being a kid can be tough. Stephen O’Neill knows from personal experience. O’Neill’s struggles growing up and the help he received not only shaped the person he is today but inspired him to pursue a career where he could help children and families. That career path brought him to the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, where O’Neill is the …

Healthcare agencies committed to working together

Emily Farley News & Notes

On Monday, June 11, 2018, senior leadership from five individual agencies (Bert Nash Center, DCCCA, Heartland Community Health Center, Heartland RADAC and Lawrence Memorial Hospital) met with a diverse group of community members who support improvements in our health and human services system. We thank them for taking the time to meet with us. The individual healthcare agencies are committed …

Douglas County stepping up its efforts to reduce number of people with mental illnesses in local jail

Emily Farley News & Notes

Douglas County is continuing its efforts to reduce the number of people who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) in the local criminal justice system by launching an intensive data-driven project in conjunction with The Council of State Governments Justice Center. Douglas County will receive intensive technical assistance from the national nonprofit to help them answer core questions about how many …

Mental Health First Aid trainer excited about new role

Emily Farley Mental Health First Aid

Julia Gaughan was looking on the Bert Nash Center website for information about upcoming dates for Mental Health First Aid classes when something caught her eye. A job listing for a new position — Mental Health First Aid training supervisor. “I read through the job description and I thought, I don’t have all of those qualifications,” Gaughan said. But the …

Peer support specialist uses her own experiences to help others

Emily Farley Peer Support

In her role as a peer support specialist at the Bert Nash Center, when Annie Ross is working with a client who is struggling or going through a crisis, she can relate. Because she’s been there herself. Ross, who has bipolar disorder, has struggled with mental illness since she was a teen. “I went through years of ups and downs …

Julia Gaughan had a plan. A plan for how she would die.

Emily Farley Adult Services

It was December 2015. She planned to drive her car off the road on her way to work in Topeka in an apparent accident. She would wait until after the holidays so she could spend the time with her husband, Mike, and son, Kiernan, who was 7 at the time. But on Dec. 21, the day before her birthday, Julia, …