For the past 30 plus years, Richard (Rich) Failla has made the mental health field his life’s work. He will bring that wealth of experience to his new role as executive director of the Treatment & Recovery Center, which is part of the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County.
Behavioral Health Partners, Inc., a nonprofit partnership between the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and LMH Health, announced the hiring of Failla. He will begin his new duties later this month.
“We understand that a mental health crisis can strike at any time and our first priority is your health and wellbeing,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO. “We are thrilled to have Richard join the team at the crisis center. His many years of experience will be invaluable and will help identify the right resources for treatment.”
Behavioral Health Partners provides the leadership, clinical oversight and operational management of the crisis recovery center. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, who are appointed by LMH Health, Bert Nash and the Board of Douglas County Commissioners. Construction of the facility will be completed by February 2022. The center will be funded through a variety of resources including the quarter-cent sales tax that was approved by voters in November 2018 to improve behavioral health services and facilities in Douglas County.
“We’re very excited about Rich coming on board and we’re delighted to have someone with his experience and expertise joining our leadership team,” said Patrick Schmitz, Bert Nash Center CEO. “We can’t wait for him to get started. This is exciting news not only for the crisis recovery center and all of our community partners involved with the project, but mostly for the people whose lives will be helped because of the availability of these crisis services in our community.”
Failla, who most recently has been a clinical therapist at Osawatomie State Hospital working with involuntary court-committed chronic mentally ill patients, has been a CEO of multiple healthcare systems throughout his career.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Failla said. “I am so looking forward to working with people in the Lawrence community. The crisis center is like the last missing piece of the puzzle and will fit in very well with the work that is already being done. You have a fantastic team there. I am very impressed. Having all these organizations as strong and as involved in the community brings the best of everybody’s expertise and commitment to help people who are suffering from serious mental illness. I think it’s a model that should be used everywhere.”
And Failla would know. He has extensive leadership experience working at behavioral health facilities throughout the country.
“I’ve run psychiatric hospitals all over the United States,” he said. “My commitment to mental health is lifelong. My wife was a psychiatric nurse for 30 years. My oldest daughter is a licensed clinical social worker. My middle daughter is a nurse. The whole family has been involved in mental health for a long time.”
Failla is eager to begin his new duties. He will spend the months leading up to the opening of the crisis center developing, planning and implementing strategies for program sustainability, improvement and growth, along with the leadership team and community behavioral health partners.
“I am confident the crisis center will make a big impact on keeping people right here in the community and keep them stable and safe and try to get them back into their lives as quickly as possible,” he said. “We will be able to offer people a tremendous amount of help right here at home and hopefully not having to leave Lawrence. Our goal will be to get people out of crisis, to keep them healthy and to keep them in the community.