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Mental health crisis center opens in Radford

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - According to medical experts, a crowded emergency room is a less-than-ideal environment for someone undergoing a mental health crisis.

“Emergency rooms are wonderful for individuals having acute medical needs, but when an individual is experiencing a behavioral health crisis, that environment is not conducive,” said Jill Anderson, the emergency and acute services manager at the New River Valley Community Services Crisis Center.

This newly-created space in the Community Service Board’s existing Radford location offers a comforting environment for treatment: private rooms to be seen by experts, comfortable seating and calming photos on the walls.

“This is a less chaotic environment than an emergency department. You don’t have beeping monitors and code calls, and you are afforded much greater privacy,” said Patrick Halpern, the CIT coordinator at the center.

This $400,000 project commissioned in late 2020 pooled together CARES Act funding from the City of Radford, as well as Montgomery, Giles, Pulaski and Floyd counties.

Right now, half the facility is being used as a space for law enforcement from around the region to bring patients in distress. In the future, the other half will offer voluntary walk-in help for those in need from people who have been in their shoes.

“Quickly get them involved with a peer recovery specialist – someone with lived experience that can intervene and start working on things like a wellness action and recovery plan,” said Anderson.

For some patients, their visit to the center will be just a one-time occurrence. For others, it will be the first step in a long-term treatment plan involving other community organizations in Radford.

Since late January, the center has already treated dozens of patients.

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