By Amy Shores

Director of Pastoral Care, Methodist Family Health

According to MethodistFamily.org, “Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle is home to the acute (short-term) and subacute (longer-term) inpatient programs in the Methodist Family Health continuum of care. Methodist Behavioral Hospital offers the most intensive level of care in our continuum.” As the director of pastoral care, I see our behavioral hospital as a beacon of hope. Our clients come to the hospital in a mental or emotional crisis, and many have never received the kind of support they truly need. The hospital serves a major link in helping provide them immediate support while connecting them with the longer-term care they need in order to be truly successful in life.

There are some children and teens that need additional support, whether it be for medication updates or for more acute intensive therapy to help them continue down the path of healing. There are clients throughout the state of Arkansas who come to Methodist Behavioral Hospital for a time of reset, and while this week of reset may not always be easy for the family or the adolescent, we see it as hopeful as the families and clients whom we have come to know trust us to play an important part in their journeys toward mental and emotional health.

I also see hope in our subacute unit where we have a group of six-to-12-year-old boys who are with us for an average of three to four months at a time. While they are at the hospital, they learn new coping skills and strategies for dealing with a wide-range of challenges, so they can return home and to school better equipped for success.

Not only do I have the blessing of observing this hope, I also have the opportunity to help bring the incredible message of God’s hope to all those who enter the doors of Methodist Behavioral Hospital. Because of continued generous donors, I can give an age-appropriate Bible to every client who would like one. I also have a regular Bible study group with the subacute boys who are very eager to learn more about the Bible (many of whom already have strong Biblical knowledge!).

I am definitely not alone in this opportunity, though. We regularly have youth groups from across the state of Arkansas (and even some from other states) join in the ministry at Methodist Behavioral Hospital. Since clients are not able to leave for church during their stay, we try to bring church to them, mostly in the form of abbreviated youth group programs. We play games, have worship, eat snacks, pray, hear a devotional and even have small group discussions. On occasion, we even have a vacation bible school or a choir come through and lead us.

Methodist Behavioral Hospital is truly a place of hope and healing. If you are interested in learning more about what we do or if you would like to provide a youth service, please contact Amy Shores at ashores@methodistfamily.org.