CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Getting help to people with mental illnesses is not always easy. That’s why the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is rolling out a new plan to reduce the time it takes for people to get treatment.
In Hampton Roads, that program just began in Chesapeake. The idea is that no matter the health problem, people get treatment when they need it.
Beau Kirkwood has turned pain into passion. “We lost my brother to bipolar disorder and also schizoaffective disorder when he was about 32,” Kirkwood said. He’s now the executive director of The CHAS Foundation, which aims to help people and their families find appropriate treatment for mental health problems.
“We really went through nearly every barrier of treatment that an individual or family could go through,” Kirkwood said.
Those barriers are what people at Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare (CIBH) are working to remove.
“People who have behavioral health care needs need to be seen whenever motivation is high and whenever they want services,” said Joe Scislowicz, executive director of the CIBH.
This month, the CIBH launched same day access, with funding from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Scislowicz said, “Especially for acute behavioral health difficulties or substance abuse problems, when they seek services, you should be there for them.”
People can now walk-in, get an assessment, and then begin treatment — avoiding wait times and cancelled appointments. “Typically if you delay a person’s appointment by even 48 hours, you’re going to lose 50 percent of the people,” said Scislowicz.
Scislowicz says it’s been steady since they launched the program January 3. The CIBH is currently the only Community Service Board in Hampton Roads that has this funding, but that’s supposed to change in the next few years, giving all CSB’s this same day program.
It’s a change Kirkwood says is welcome, especially for people like his brother.
“When someone needs care and they’re willing to receive that treatment, it gets so frustrating when you can’t get that treatment in a timely manner,” said Kirkwood. “It’s absolutely needed.”
In Norfolk, officials say they started a pilot program for same day access in fall 2017. That program is currently open Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 3755 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard. People can call their main number at 757-823-1600. Anyone with a crisis can call the 24-hour crisis line at 757-664-7690.
Norfolk also offers The Governor’s Access Plan (GAP) which can help adults with mental illness who have no insurance and very low or no income.
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – NORFOLK, Va., — The Chas Foundation presented a $40,000 gift to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) to support staff training and education for CHKD’s pediatric behavioral health program.
CHKD offers outpatient pediatric behavioral health treatment at CHKD health centers throughout the region, giving children and families access to mental health services now in unprecedented demand close to home and in the same place they receive trusted care for their physical health concerns.
“We are very grateful for this generous donation from The Chas Foundation. This gift will expand our program’s reach and help us meet the increased demand for pediatric behavioral health services in our community. We are excited about The Chas Foundation’s support of our program to deliver innovative, family-focused care,” says Stephanie Osler, director of behavioral health for CHKD.
“The Chas Foundation is dedicated to helping families find effective treatment for their children with behavioral health challenges, and we recognize the importance of early intervention. Supporting the mental health of local children in our community is a priority for us,” says Tucker Corprew, president and founder of The Chas Foundation.
The Chas Foundation is a Norfolk-based nonprofit dedicated to helping those with psychological and psychiatric disorders and dissolving the stigma of mental illness. Learn more at thechasfoundation.org.
CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers and satellite offices throughout its service region. Learn more at CHKD.org.
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