It’s once again time for our annual “Bags of Hope” drive. If you would like to sponsor a Christmas Wishlist for a youth in Foster Care let us know, you can call 402-379-0270 or email


New facility will bring Behavioral Health Specialists under one roof

By AUSTIN SVEHLA  - Oct 13, 2020

Behavioral Health Specialists provides comprehensive care to clients in need of mental health assistance, family care services and substance abuse recovery. 


Currently, Behavioral Health Specialists operates in three separate facilities in Norfolk. The organization has purchased a 45,000-square-foot facility at 1824 and 1900 Vicki Lane to both expand its services to meet the increasing needs of clients, as well as make each of its services available at the same facility.


“Right now, we’re in Phase I of construction, and our short-term residential substance abuse is going to go from 16 beds to 24 beds, as well as six additional detox beds,” executive director Jay Fleecs said. “That will be completed by the end of November.”


A nursing home previously occupied the building that Behavioral Health Services now owns, and Fleecs said the model of the former nursing home provided BHS with a perfect fit that will help the organization more easily fulfill its objectives.


Behavioral Health Specialists offers a wide range of programs, which include: outpatient care, psychological care, employee assistance, after-hours emergency services, community support, crisis response, foster care, home studies, family support and intensive family preservation.


Fleecs said he is grateful for the partnership with the United Way because it allows Behavioral Health to provide proactive mental health and substance abuse services. The organization’s programs have a waiting list, and he said they are always looking for ways to expand to meet those needs.


“The whole expansion plan simply fits Behavioral Health’s business model,” Fleecs said. “The entire move is really a win-win situation. Over 100 people have contributed in 2020 to the health and well-being of hundreds of people seeking comprehensive services at Behavioral Health. The need for our services is constant, and we’re grateful to organizations like the United Way who help us provide for clients in the area.”


Behavioral Health Specialists


Administrators: Jay Fleecs, executive director


What specific services does your agency provide and who generally does it serve?


We serve all of Northeast Nebraska, and we epitomize the meaning of behavioral care and family services. We have two short-term residential, substance abuse facilities — one in Columbus and one in Norfolk. We also have mental health and substance use disorder outpatient services. Another provision of ours is community support, and what that does is it helps people find a job, which they typically get after their short-term residency. We have foster care, and that’s a very important part of what we do.


In what ways does the United Way assist you?


The United Way assists us in the care line. The care line is a crisis response line and gives somebody the ability to talk to a therapist at any time if needed. The United Way helps fund that crisis response, and there’s a limited amount of funds for that crisis response. Our crisis line is 24/7, and its main source of funding is the United Way.


What are some of the new or ongoing needs that your agency is facing?


Substance abuse is very common, and the struggle with mental health is a major thing, especially with COVID. We’ve seen an increase in clients over the last several months because of circumstances many people have faced during the pandemic.


Share a brief anecdote about how your agency has had an impact on the community as a whole or an individual who has been served:


As a whole, our mission is to get people to be a productive member of the civil society from start to finish. We communicate in the substance abuse treatment centers how to find a job, how to help clients be dependent on themselves. Our main objective is to get somebody back to being a member of the civil society, keep them there, assist them outside our doors and continue to assist their needs. We make it a mission of ours to help clients in any way we can, whether they’re under our roof or not.


* * *

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of articles highlighting agencies that receive funding from the Norfolk Area United Way.

900 W Norfolk Ave, Ste. 200

Norfolk, NE 68701


  • Facebook Black Round

Created by Norfolk Daily News