Baptist Behavioral Health Center unveils rooms for art and music therapy

Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas unveiled newly remodeled art, music and exercise rooms during an open house celebration at its Behavioral Health Center on Wednesday, June 7.
“This is a wonderful tool that we didn’t have before. Now, we’ve got all of these options to help people with their recovery,” said Sally Broussard, administrative director for the Behavioral Health Center.
The rooms were funded through a $25,000 grant from the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation, administered by the Wealth and Asset Management Department of Capital One Bank. Funds were granted to reopen rooms for art and music therapy and exercise to help speed patients’ recovery.
“The Baptist Hospital Foundation applied for a grant to the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation through our annual grant process. (The foundation) did a thorough review and decided that this was a worthwhile project,” said Jean Moncla, VP and trust officer for the Wealth and Asset Management arm of Capital One Commercial Banking. Capital One is a trustee on the foundation board along with McFaddin family members and community leaders.
“We’re reopening therapy rooms that haven’t been used in years,” said Kim Moncla, executive director of the Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation. Moncla added that donations are being sought from the community for further improvements. “(The Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation) gift was for the art room, but we stretched their gift to remodel a music and exercise room, as well. … Everything is open and ready for patient use, so I think it’s going to be very nice. We have other rooms that we need to redo, but this is a good start.”
In addition to the newly remodeled rooms, in April, Lamar University students painted the gazebo and fence outside and did landscaping during the school’s “Big Event” day of community service when students give back to the community.
“Helping people is something I’ve always tried to do, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” said LU sophomore Nicholas DeVillier, who volunteered about four hours of his time for the effort at the Behavioral Health Center. About 250 students volunteered for causes around the city, including Baptist’s remodel, said Brandie Van Zanden, associate director of Student Involvement and Programming for Lamar.
The music room has a collection of records and a record player, a piano, and a karaoke machine for patients to enjoy. The workout room offers several elliptical training machines for patients to use to exercise. All the televisions and the Internet connection were bought with the grant as well, Broussard said.
“We have activity therapists as part of our treatment team and they bring people down here. We’re trying to work on their mind and their body,” she said, adding that the facility treats patients ranging from teen to geriatric. “We bring them down in different groups and do whatever they can do.”
Nearly one-fourth of all adult stays in U.S. community hospitals involve depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders or substance use-related disorders, according to the American Psychological Association. The Behavioral Health Center averages over 200 admissions a month, Broussard said.
“These are people who have psychiatric crisis, so it could be anything from schizophrenia to people who are suicidal. We also have kids who are placed here by Child Protective Services. These are kids who are abused, and certain situations have given them behavioral problems. We’ve got people who are here for addiction detox and patients who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. We treat a whole range of mental health diagnoses,” she said.
Each patient has an individualized treatment plan, and these therapies can make a real difference for many.
“We’ve got group therapy and individual therapy, but there are some people who have been traumatized and they can’t really talk about things, but with art or music, it helps express what their feelings are and what they are experiencing in a much less threatening way than in a group therapy session where you’ve got to talk about your feelings and name them,” Broussard said. “People will often reveal feelings and experiences through art, like through painting or drawing a picture, that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to talk about. Art is just another tool that helps them see where they are and what they need to do to improve their recovery. This can include painting, drawing, crafts, sewing, etc.”
Dr. Mark Valverde, a Beaumont psychiatrist who treats patients at the Behavioral Health Center, said the therapy sessions will help patients interrupt their everyday routine with different activities.
“This is a break,” Valverde said. “There’s a task that’s accomplished in each setting — manual dexterity and strengthening the imagination through music therapy. There’s a purpose behind it, but these are activities they can enjoy. It’s an important re-addition — because at one point this hospital had this.”
Baptist is the area’s largest inpatient Behavioral Health Center in the region, serving patients from throughout an eight-county service area.
“I think there’s a pretty acute need in our community for mental health services, and Baptist has really stepped up to provide those services,” said Jean Moncla. “Allowing the patients to have access to therapeutic art and crafts and exercise and outdoors can only enhance their experience and hopefully helps them heal better.”

Photo by Kevin King - Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Karen Tomsu welcomes guests to the grand opening for the Behavioral Health Center’s new art therapy room Wednesday, June 7.