Valued past, innovating today for tomorrow
The beginnings of Comprehensive Life Resources (formerly Comprehensive Mental Health) date back to 1957 when the Tacoma Psychiatric Clinic was established. In 1965, CLR became one of the first not-for-profit organizations funded by the National Institute of Mental Health under federal community mental health law.
Throughout the 70s, CLR provided a number of innovative mental health services in addition to outpatient therapy. Programming included clustered apartment living with 24-hour live-in staff for recently discharged Western State Hospital consumers, training and employment programs for seriously mentally ill individuals, and a drop-in community resource center utilizing a clubhouse model.
The early 80’s saw an increased focus on child and adolescent mental health. Pearl Street Center, a locked residential treatment facility for adolescents, opened in 1983. Also that year, we secured State funding to develop a 90-day diagnostic group care facility and a grant to provide a therapeutic foster care program as an alternative to hospitalization. Working with State officials, CLR was able to merge the two programs into a continuum of diagnostic and foster treatment beds called CHANCE. This program was a model for Statewide services for over three decades and continues today through the Behavioral Rehabilitation Services contract.
In 1991, CLR embarked on an ambitious program in concert with the County’s two other mental health centers to provide alternative residential placements for 55 mentally ill consumers living in nursing homes. Called OBRA, this project successfully helped reintegrate many of these individuals into community living. In 2006, CLR expanded Park Place use to a full 86 beds to offer a community living option for individuals ready to leave Western State Hospital without somewhere to go.
From the late 90s through 2008, CLR added many specialty mental health programs and services working with school districts, local juvenile justice offices and the regional office of the State Division of Child and Family Services. Our foster care programs expanded to include seven contracts and we began co-locating our services throughout the community.
In 2011, CLR took an opportunity to review our past decades of service, to appreciate our accomplishments, to recognize our strengths, and to identify areas for growth. Together with our clients, we chose a new name for our organization, Comprehensive Life Resources, and recommitted to a strengths-oriented and unconditionally accepting treatment approach with clients and staff members working together as a team.
In October of that year, we began offering mental-health assessment, case management, and individual/family counseling at no cost for youth and adults who are unfunded or unable to pay for services. In July of 2013, CLR was able to expand these services through our first grant from the City of Tacoma (1/10th of 1% tax funding). Re-named Life Connections, the program has served over 2500 children and adults in the past 5 years.
In January of 2012, CLR entered into a formal partnership agreement with Tacoma Public Schools. Agreements with Peninsula and White River School Districts followed in 2013 and 2015 respectively. These agreements allowed CLR to site mental health therapists at K-12 schools to provide individual, family, and group counseling to Medicaid-eligible students and their families. We have since added the capacity to offer free counseling to unfunded and underfunded students as well. Since 2012, CLR has consistently had therapists embedded in schools, serving over 1000 youth.
In 2014, three more new programs were developed and funded by the 1/10th of 1% behavioral health tax passed by the City of Tacoma. New Beginnings operates out of the Park Place facility, and is designed to provide intensive support in a transitional residential environment for individuals with mental illness and/or chemical dependency. Positive Interactions is designed as a one-stop connection for the Tacoma Business Community to access support for individuals identified as needing crisis intervention. This program, which has recently expanded to Puyallup, averts inappropriate and high cost Fire Department, ER and Law Enforcement interventions by providing outreach and directly connecting individuals with needed health care, housing, mental health, substance abuse, and other community services. S.S.GRIN (Social Skills Group Intervention) was an Evidence-Based program found to dramatically reduce school violence and increase the social-emotional competence of both perpetrators and victims. Conducted in partnership with Tacoma School District and UW-T Center for Strong Schools, CLR has engaged over 300 children in S.S. GRIN as part of the overall Tacoma Whole Child Initiative. In 2017, CLR staff helped to train the Tacoma School District counselors in the model, providing sustainability for this intervention beyond the initial grant period.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, we continued to broaden our continuum of services, adding licenses for Supported Employment, Substance Use treatment, Gang Prevention Outreach and a Pierce County funded Mobile Intervention and Response Team, MCIRT. In June 2017, CLR was also awarded a grant from the Giddeons Foundation to grow our child welfare capacity for local youth.
As 2018 begins, we have joined the Pierce County Accountable Community of Health and are working as an active partner in the effort to full integrate behavioral and physical healthcare in Pierce County.