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Meridian in the News

Staff profile: Bob Coles

Aug 27

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Saturday, August 27, 2011  RssIcon

At events like Fun Fair, Bob Coles seems to be everywhere– and wherever he’s not, someone is probably looking for him. He’s touching base with participating vendors, making sure everything is going smoothly and trying to resist the urge to try out the inflatable games himself.

“I wish I was about eight years old right now,” he says, eyeballing one of the giant inflatables new this year.

Coles has some 35 years of experience working in mental health and addictions as a counsellor and an administrator — the last 10 at Meridian Services where he is vice president for clinical services. His duties include overseeing children’s services at the Suzanne Gresham Center, which helps about 4,000 children every year.

Coles is an enthusiastic evangelist for the important work Meridian does. “A lot of what we do is outside of what people traditionally think about what mental health is,” Coles says. “We’re unique in a lot of ways.”

Meridian takes a holistic approach to its mission, focusing on mental, physical and social health and well-being. “Not everyone needs the same kind of help,” Coles says, “so you have to individualize that.”

Although some of Meridian’s patients have severe mental illnesses or developmental disabilities, it also works with families on more common problems — depression, anxiety and addictions. Through Meridian MD, families can get both medical and mental health care.

Meridian tries to make its services accessible for all, Cole said. It accepts insurance and Medicaid, but also has a sliding scale based on income for services not covered by insurance. “We don’t let money be an obstacle for someone to get services,” he said. “We really work hard on that.”

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