Our Storytellers: The story of Jefferson Center through the eyes of our employees
Harriet Hall, Ph.D., CEO and President
How long have you been with Jefferson Center?
I started as Associate Director in 1981 – so over 36 years! I became CEO in 1984. There were around 70 employees at that time.
What have been the greatest changes at Jefferson Center?
I would say the growth and the range of programs and services that we offer. Jefferson Center started in 1958 and we were actually started by the Mental Health Association. It was a local chapter in Jefferson County and they wanted a community mental health center in the County. We actually started in the basement of the old courthouse. Now we have 17 locations throughout three counties (Jefferson, Gilpin and Clear Creek) and the size of our staff (over 700) and the number of people we’re able to serve (over 32,000 last year) is astonishing.
What changes have you seen in Mental Health?
Well, they’re huge. The whole structure for funding has changed over time to bring more dollars into the system with which we’ve been able to build the services that people need. The fact that that has happened is really good. There have been a lot of changes in treatment itself. It used to be we provided only mental health services, and other services such as vocation and housing were provided by other systems. We figured out the importance of integrating services. Now, in addition to providing services to the people in the community, we also provide the support that the community needs so that the whole community can be healthy.
Tell us about a memorable moment during your time at Jefferson Center.
When I started working here, Jefferson Center’s administrative office was on 38th in Wheat Ridge in a little old building. We were thrilled when the Board decided to build a new building on Vance Street in Arvada. We soon needed more offices and the Executive team moved to rented space in the bank building across the street. It seems that began a trend – we are always outgrowing our space. We’ve come a long way from that building that was so dark and damp we used to say that we grew mushrooms in the basement!