Main Image
Wellness Center History

The San Carlos Apache Tribe's Wellness Center started as two Indian Health Services programs with only one 1/2-time master's-level position to service mental health needs and one staff member to handle substance abuse needs of the entire reservation.  As this was inadequate to service all the needs, the tribe started a program similar to a detox center (with a residence dedicated to this) and had substance abuse programs associated with the jail.  However, this was still not adequate, so in approximately 1996 the tribe decided to "638" (take over from the federal government) the provision of all mental health and substance abuse services for the San Carlos Apache people.  By utilizing 638 resources, the tribe received some financial assistance to cover start-up costs and salaries of employees.

The tribe started by dividing counseling services and resources into 3 programs:  ADAP (adult Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program), Behavioral Health (mental health services) and Teen Wellness (adolescent substance abuse services).   These three programs were initially housed in the hospital, but then moved to other buildings and free-standing trailers. However, as these clinics grew, the need for additional space became paramount.  The Tribal Council was approached about this need and they agreed to give several old BIA buildings to the programs.  Unfortunately, the buildings that were given to us had already been condemned, so the repairs required a tremendous amount of work.   In addition to these buildings, the ADAP program was able to purchase a new double-wide trailer for the provision of substance abuse services in Bylas.  Behavioral Health borrowed space in this trailer for a little while.  Then, in 2003, the tribe decided to merge ADAP, Behavioral Health, and Teen Wellness to form one integrated mental health and substance abuse outpatient treatment center.  The Wellness Center was born!

Because of the expansive growth of the WC over the past few years, additional clinic space was needed.  So, in 2004-2005, the center initiated and completed a large building project that joined two existing 100-year-old tribal buildings to more than double the available clinic space.  This new space allows for centralized reception, expanded medical records space, additional offices, multiple group rooms, an art therapy space, clinician resource library, and a teaching/observation room attached to a counseling office to aid in training.  By involving the staff in the design process, the new clinic space also includes 2 round group rooms designed to simulate traditional Apache wickiups, as well as sky lights to bring natural lighting into interior spaces and outside meeting space.