Phoenix clinic founders pursue 'ideal' approach for addressing mental health needs
For Mental Health Center of America founders Ryan House and Jason Law, their professional venture has a personal side.
Both have known people who have struggled with getting mental health care. And for Law, it’s even a bit more personal.
“Through my own experiences, not sleeping well, others noticing you’re not the same … you think, ‘Where do I go?’” Law said. “It was no different than a lot of people. Everyone is struggling in some way but not everyone knows where to start.”
That’s when the two entrepreneurs decided to provide that square one for those seeking help with Mental Health Center of America, their Phoenix clinic that offers a contemporary, whole-person approach to mental health as a one-stop-shop for those seeking overall health, wellness and mental health support.
Through the center, House and Law aim to give clients a solid spot to get started.
“There’s lots of treatment but with mental health, it seemed broken. There was a lack of clarity, where to go about it," Law said “Ryan and I have a lot in common in terms of mental health and how it should be addressed in an ideal world.”
Law and House, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Midwestern University, started the Mental Health Center of America in 2020, and opened their clinic to patients in early 2022.
Its small setting serves 100-150 new patients every month, House said. It’s common for patients to spend one to three hours in one visit receiving multiple services. The youngest patient is 6 and the oldest is 92.
The Mental Health Center of America is part of a U.S. behavioral health market that is projected to grow from $79.7 billion in 2022 to $105.1 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights.
A dozen healthcare providers assist patients using technology and equipment in an approach that includes biofeedback, biological medicine, cryotherapy, infrared therapy, cold water therapy and red-light therapy. The idea is to offer a three-pronged treatment of biological, psychological and social approaches.
Outpatient treatment plans are customized to patients' needs, House said. It’s designed to provide a coordination of care, an aspect that often is lacking in the industry.
The goal is to get patients back to being themselves as soon as they are possibly ready.
“Ultimately, we wanted people to be self-sufficient. We want our patients well and out back in the life they deserve without ongoing services,” House said.
Offering something new for those seeking help
About half of the center’s patients have spent most of their lives on a mental health journey and are looking for new options, Law said. Others are seeking treatment for the first time.
What the center offers is something different, especially for those giving treatment one last try, House said.
“Some are not seeing the progress they want. Some are looking for answers. Or they’re not the person they used to be. They are just stuck,” House said.
Andrian McGhee’s search led her to Mental Health Center of America last spring. She knew something wasn’t quite right and while she was seeking treatment at other places, her needs weren’t addressed appropriately or diagnosed correctly, she said.
“I wanted something more in-depth,” said McGhee, a nurse who lives in Tolleson. “I saw one of (Mental Health Center of America’s) focuses was on first responders. That told me they understood where I stood.”
McGhee said she was more thoroughly evaluated at the center than the previous facilities she visited. She also likes the continuity of care and communication among everyone she works with, putting them all on the same page. That's rare in the industry, she said.
“I’ve constantly been impressed by what I receive there,” she said. “Their level of organization and rapport with everyone is hard to come by and I feel very lucky that I’ve found them.”
Seeing change in patients inspires work
House worked in real estate before returning to school to earn a clinical psychology degree.
Law was running a nonprofit before he joined forces with House, but had previously owned a landscaping company and was a Scottsdale firefighter before that.
Both needed a break from their careers and sought change. They found it in the mental health arena.
Patients run the gamut in backgrounds, education and careers, from first responders and high school teachers to grandparents and teens and everyone in between.
The diversity of clientele helps to break down negative stereotypes of who seeks treatment and why.
“There used to be the stigma of mental health when someone struggles. But I think people are getting out of that,” House said.
Whenever Law and House see visible improvement in patients, it’s affirmation their model is working. It could be a teenager or young adult who arrives with no passion for life or motivation, with no understanding of why.
“You see the sparkle and the parents see this kid being brought back to life. Seeing that joy in their eyes is something to be proud of,” House said. “When a family is made whole again, you really have to take a step back and appreciate that.”
What: Mental Health Center of America
Where: 7600 N. 15th St., #100, Phoenix
Factoid: The U.S. behavioral health market is projected to grow from $79.7 billion in 2022 to $105.1 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights.
Details: 602-704-2345, mentalhealthcenter.com