New home for Inyo County Wellness Center

By Deb Murphy

Inyo County’s Wellness Center will have a new, permanent home by late spring, a single-story home on Central Avenue in Bishop.

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The Board of Supervisors directed staff to go ahead with the $290,978 purchase at last Tuesday’s meeting with funding from a Mental Health Services Act grant for capital improvements. “It was the perfect property,” said Supervisor Mark Tillemans of the single story home with commercial zoning a block east of Main Street

Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health has operated the Wellness Center at two different locations over the past eight years. The Center provides a safe haven for those suffering from mental illness or homelessness. “We help those struggling with work or relationships,” said H&HS Director Jean Turner. “We want to engage people, figure out what they need and offer options.”

For the last three years, the center operated out of a commercial rental on South Street. Bringing that facility into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements would have been too costly. The single story home on Central will only require a re-work of the bathroom to be compliant according to Behavior Health Director Dr. Gail Zwier. That work should be done by late May or early June.

Zwier’s staff, psychologists and licensed case workers, provide screening once the Center’s clients have their basic needs met. “Our focus has been older adults,” said Zwier, but the center also has programs for those Zwier identifies as transitional adults, in the 16-25 age group.

In addition to providing resources, the Wellness Center provides social interaction and peer run recovery groups.  “The programs help those with mental health challenges contribute to the community,” said Zwier. “The groups help with Salvation Army food drives. We contribute to community gardens at City Park and the Lutheran Church. We have art and photography projects.” The center’s clientele enlarge their world by entering their garden and artistic projects in the Tri-County Fair each year.

“Everyone brings gifts to the table,” said Turner, “things they can do to give back and become part of the community.” Now those gifts will have a real home.



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15 Responses to New home for Inyo County Wellness Center

  1. Zack Lane March 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm #


  2. Randy March 12, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    Yeah!!!! Praise The LORD!!!! Thank You JESUS!!!!!! Good bye chuckle heads!!!! After three years of having the wellness center located next to my business on SHORT ST.,not South stated in the article, I can honestly say I will not miss the show that carries on from dawn till dusk monday through friday.The neighborhood children can go back to playing in their yards without fear. So long Popeye, Dancer,Darth Vader, Pig Pen, Pajama Lady, Poopdeck Pappy, Stoggie Man, Camper Man,Homer, Fireman and all the rest of the entertainers. My heart goes out to those in the neighborhood of Central Ave. but am glad it will now be you, not me!!!! It is no surprise that Inyo County pulled $300,000.00 out of a hat to purchase a facility to continue to waste more tax money than can be even imagined for a hand full of clients who continue to be enabled by those that pay taxes.I wonder how much is spent annually in rents, vehicle costs, utilities,supplies, field trips,and the salaries and packages of MANY employees? Is it really the responsibility of the tax payer to provide a facility such as the wellness center to entertain and offer an environment for social interaction ? I have no problem with helping the mentally ill in our community that have real needs, but with what I have seen in the last three years I have to say that this is an absolute waste of valuable resources in our community.

    • Agreed March 13, 2015 at 12:12 am #

      There goes the neighborhood. Hopefully they can offer all the people cable of working….JOBS.

      • Agreed2 March 15, 2015 at 2:53 am #

        10 People on S.W. don’t like JOBS. Weird.

    • Robin Roberts March 14, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      “Randy”, just an FYI, the money used to for resources like your new Inyo Wellness Center come from the Mental Health Services Act. These funds are not a part of your county general fund. It cannot be used for the “salaries or packages” like you mention; and the use is restricted by the State of California and MHSA Oversight Committee. It sounds like you had a terrible time with the people who used the center near your business, to the point of giving them comical names so that we might find their torment laughable. Perhaps you would be willing to write a little more about what you think might work for those afflicted with mental illness, the “chuckle heads”, as you refer to them.

      • Eastside Bum March 14, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

        Robin, would you believe it’s not mental illness, but rather people of questionable character, no morals or integrity, lack of values, work ethic, and just plain laziness. Not to forget irresponsible and unaccountable for their actions. The politically correct term these days is however, is mental illness.

    • Anonymous March 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Randy, you showed your true colors with your comments on this article. Ignorance at its finest. With your claims of knowledge on who needs help and who doesn’t maybe you are in the wrong profession; sounds like you know how to diagnose a mental illness. It is childish and ill willed of you to make fun of the people there and even call them names. The people that go there may have a mental illness but they are human and deserve the same respect as you and I. I will gladly take my business elsewhere when it comes to auto repair, that’s for sure!

    • pontius the pilot March 15, 2015 at 5:36 am #

      Jesus is listening to you Randy, ramble on.

    • Armchair Pundit March 16, 2015 at 10:17 am #

      Thank Randy!
      You made me laugh my posterior right off. I find myself chuckling on and off to “Poopdeck Pappy”.
      In the future, if I have automotive repairs, I may bring them to you, because I find you entertaining.
      To the rest of you. Cut Randy a break. I bet none of you had to deal with these issues, day in and day out.
      You are all for them being housed/helped…but NIMBY! And just because it’s not directly coming from Inyo general funds doesn’t mean we aren’t all paying for it on the local, state, and federal levels.

    • Jonathan March 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

      Randy – My name is Jonathan and I have grown up in Bishop CA, further I have a degree in Psychology and soon pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. Bishop is a wonderful place to live with such an amazing and caring community. However, I am very sorry to see that some members of the community has degraded itself to name calling and labeling others that they do not understand. The unknowns of mental illness can be scary for those who have never had to deal with it in their family or social lives – sadly, people become biased with things that they have little knowledge about and judge others. Education is the cornerstone to combating fear – you have no need to fear those with mental handicaps. The news and other media perpetuates the idea that people who have mental illness’ are to be feared because they are dangerous (It is great for TV ratings), however this is not the case and it is important that they are still people…still human beings. Many of the people have been abused and constantly put down in their lives by people who fear them simply because they do not understand them. People assign those with mental illness nick names to avoid acknowledging their fear of something that they do not understand.
      Again, please let me say that I as a mental health advocate understand your fears and misconceptions. I cannot change your mind about people with mental illness but I urge you to please educate yourself to help dissuade any lingering fear you may have. The people of Bishop are a good people with kind hearts – Please keep this kindness in your heart my friend. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted… please consider what I have said, and if you would like any articles to better understand mental illness or a citizens responsibility to their community I do have various references.
      Again, I cannot change your opinion but I urge you to not allow your fear to control you.

    • Trouble March 20, 2015 at 4:42 am #

      Randy, most of the people I have meet over there are harmless folks that really have no place to go. A few of the people you are not happy with , would jump at a opportunity to work hard if given half a chance in this world.

  3. Low-Inyo March 15, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    Randy;Isn’t it business 101 to keep such an opinion on mental health and those with problems to yourself or with the group that agrees with you on what you want to say and think and not put it out there on a web-site and just think everyone agrees with you ?.It can alianate even those that might see some of it your way.It’s obvious you and your “staff” have a lot of time on your hands to be sitting around making fun of,and choosing cute little nicknames for those that you will no longer have to “deal with” next door at your business.Got to agree with “Anonymous” on this one….You won’t have my business,but only partly because of the angry big mouth.Also because,from what I’ve heard,not a place to be getting your vehicle repaired anyway if you want to get the repairs done right.

    • Desert Tortoise March 16, 2015 at 6:15 am #

      Just don’t patronize his business any more. Simple, and very effective.

    • sugar magnolia March 20, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      I’d like to give Randy the benefit of the doubt that he has dealt with unpleasant and difficult things, otherwise he wouldn’t have made this post.

      He’s a good mechanic and definitely trustworthy (based on my business dealings with him), yes his opinion was harsh, but I’m going to assume they are based on reality.

      Of course, a little compassion and empathy are good things, but that’s easy for me to say who hasn’t been dealing with whatever he has been.

      • Trouble March 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        Sugar- FYI-There were two gentlemen named Randy working there.


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