Monday, January 20, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 46

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on October 1st, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 31

Balance Treatment Center offers mental health services in Santa Maria


A new mental health clinic in Santa Maria is designed to give patients short-term, intensive care.


Balance Treatment Center offers an intensive outpatient program (IOP), which for most patients means a nine- to 15-hour weekly commitment. Coraline Robinson, the program director at the new location, which opened in early September, said it’s meant to give patients a place to go other than the emergency room. 

“People are still told to go to the ER if they’re having a mental health crisis,” she said.

She said suicide prevention is a big part of what they do.

A June report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said there were more than 47,000 suicides in 2017 in the country. The department also reported in a separate survey that in 2016, 5.5 million people with various behavioral and mental health disorders made emergency room visits in the U.S.

The ER environment isn’t ideal for someone suffering from a mental health problem, Robinson said, and in many cases a therapist can help. For things like panic attacks, she said, the ER won’t be the quickest, most helpful solution.

The new wellness center, she said, serves patients who need extra treatment structure for their continued mental health. The clinic runs a variety of group programs, with groups topping out at about 12 patients. But, she said, they always try and keep a 1-to-6 ratio of therapists to patients, so everyone gets the help they need. And everybody attending the clinic gets at least an hour a week of one-on-one counseling. For children, Robinson said, the clinic involves the family in the child’s treatment.

She said it’s hard to keep track of the number of patients enrolled at their clinics because there’s no contract. People come and go as they need, and Balance Treatment isn’t designed for long-term care. She said most people can only manage such a big time commitment for a few months before it becomes too much of an interference. 

“Our goal is to get them out on their own,” she said. “Maybe you’ll need help the rest of your life, but we want you to be able to do it in a sustainable way.”

Balance Treatment Center began in San Luis Obispo in 2016 with one client. Robinson said pretty soon it was serving groups. In addition to the Santa Maria office, the company is also opening a clinic in Visalia. 

Mental health disorders are common in the U.S., and Robinson fears it’s getting worse. Robinson also said that external factors like the economy and climate change can take a toll on a person’s mental health and well-being.

She said there are a lot of factors that go into someone’s mental health—not only upbringing, but genetics.

“You can tolerate your feelings,” Robinson said. “You’re strong enough, and we’re going to give you the tools to manage your feelings.”

For more information, visit Balance Treatment Center at 411 E. Betteravia Road, suite 201, or reach them at (855) 414-8100.


• The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors recently approved the opening of a new restaurant at the Cachuma Lake Park marina. Hook’d offers American fare like hotdogs and barbecue sandwiches. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

• Continuum of Care, a Santa Barbara County office charged with helping the homeless, applied for nearly $2.3 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If it receives the money, it plans to use it to support the work of local homeless service providers. 

Staff Writer William D’Urso wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send tips to 

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