New mental health crisis center opening in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) Monday, Carilion Clinic will be showing off one of its newest sites to help people going through mental health emergencies.

It’s at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington. Two major groups see benefits. First, it helps people going through mental health crises. They don't have to come here to the emergency room, instead they go to the center.

The second group that benefits is law enforcement because deputies are able to drop off a patient going through a mental health crisis. Deputies can then go back to patrolling. Before, they'd have to wait with the person in crisis, sometimes as much as eight hours.

Michael Bell, Rockbridge Area Community Services, said, “It's really beneficial to the emergency department, it's beneficial to the sheriff, and it's beneficial to the client because once they get there it's a more private setting.”

Aaron Glenn, Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital Director of Nursing, said, “When the individuals in crisis are brought to the site, they have a calmer site for their assessment.”

This center is open to Rockbridge and Bath Counties, as well as Lexington and Buena Vista. It's only for mental health cases where police are involved. People looking for mental health treatment can still come to the emergency room.

As part of the grant from the Department of Behavioral Health Services that made this all possible, they've added two officers and a mental health professional at the site in Lexington.

“What we're really seeing here is something that really streamlines the processes that benefit the clients, the local resources and I think the entire community benefits from that,” said Glenn.