Serving as the interim director of Lake County Mental Health was an appropriate transition into the role full-time, according to Ben Paz.
Lake County’s Board of Commissioners offered Paz the full-time director position following a special session held on Friday, July 19, which he then accepted.
Paz got his feet wet as the department’s lead administrator during an interim period of a little over a month.
“The longer I was in the interim position, the more I wanted to pursue the permanent (spot),” he said.
Paz said he sees an opportunity to focus energy toward segments of the Lake County population that deserve additional attention.
“I really would like to push for more early intervention,” he said. “It’s easier to raise a child than to fixan adult.”
Paz said that he submitted a proposal to GOBHI (Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Initiative) for a supportive employment program. The objective would be to help those being treated for mental health issues overcome the obstacles that hold them back from finding employment, he said.
The hope is for an additional position to be added in this capacity, Paz said, who noted he also hopes to increase public awareness of all the agency’s varied services. Included in this realm are parenting courses, anger management, and drug and alcohol related services.
Other objectives include increasing its partnership with the public health department, Paz said.
“I think we have mutual clients that would benefit from referrals and just assistance in that way,” he said.
Normal office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more information, contact Lake County Mental Health, located on the corner of north 2nd and G streets, at 541-947-6021.