Final alternative transportation rollout impacts our region

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Across our hometowns, alternative transportation began rolling out in 2019.

The service helps people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Those folks under temporary detention orders can get a discreet ride from evaluation site to inpatient psychiatric treatment, which is now available statewide.

“For us, we feel like it’s a real feather in our cap to be able to offer this to every individual across the state of Virginia,” said Gail Paysour, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services alternative transportation coordinator.

Paysour says the final rollout represents a big step forward.

The latest area features some of our region, which includes South Boston, along with Halifax and Charlotte counties.

“And I think it takes a bit of a culture shift for the general public and and for mental health providers to understand that not everyone needs that level of security - not everyone needs to be restrained, they need support,” said Paysour.

Paysour says rather than using police cars, folks will be in unmarked cars. The vehicles are still designed to be safe and secure for transportation.

Drivers are unarmed and trained to handle safe transport.

“This is much more recovery-oriented for certain individuals under a TDO. We feel like it is something that can get them on that road to recovery perhaps a little more quickly,” said Paysour.

With the availability of the program statewide, Paysour says they now look to increase the number of transports they give.

She says they currently do about 10% of statewide temporary detention orders but look to increase that in the future.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.