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NRV Community Services bringing ‘Crisis Center’ to Radford

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - New River Valley Community Services is changing the way people in the NRV approach mental illness.

The community services board is upgrading its current location in Radford, transforming it into a Crisis Center, where law enforcement will soon be able to take patients in distress, instead of the hospital.

“Anytime you can get someone into a service or in front of a professional to assess and identify the issues quickly, you are saving time and hopefully avoiding those symptoms from escalating," said NRV Community Services Executive Director James Pritchett.

“Mental health is not a crime, because someone is going through a crisis or experiencing some kind of issue that’s going on with them, we want to get law enforcement there and get that contact transferred over to a trained clinician. We’re trained in a lot of things: we’re CIT trained, de-escalation trained, but we’re not psychologists, we’re not counselors, we’re not clinicians, so anytime we can get that transferred to somebody who’s trained to do that it’s better," said Radford Police Chief Jeff Dodson.

During the pandemic, when hospital beds are at a premium and everyone’s goal is limiting potential interactions with COVID, this new facility will help keep patients and the officers who transport them out of hospitals.

That means all of the localities providing funding for this project will be able to use CARES Act money.

The project is broken into two phases, with phase one costing around $400,000.

Current NRV Community Services staff will be shifted into new positions at the new facility.

“Our goal is to really make sure the atmosphere is enticing and supportive. We’re not going for that sterile hospital approach, but [rather] something that’s really comfortable for them, because everybody knows that when you’re stressed or when you’re having a crisis, the atmosphere’s really important," said Pritchett.

Since the project is being paid for in-part by CARES Act funding, phase I of the project must be completed by the end of the year.

After the pandemic ends, NRV Community Services hopes to build out this project even further in phase II.

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