Lynchburg has new residential crisis stabilization unit

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:31 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Two organizations have come together to transform a home into a residential crisis stabilization unit, a space for people experiencing behavioral health crises. The groups say this will benefit the community and local law enforcement.

Not everyone has a place to call home and Thomas Seabolt knows that struggle too well.

“Three years ago, I came out of incarceration. I had no money, no place to live, no job, no nothing,” said Seabolt.

The Lighthouse Community Center not only gave him a roof, but helped him get back on his feet.

“The biggest thing about this organization (Focus Point Mental Health Services) and the Lighthouse is that they love us,” explained Seabolt.

And it’s that love that pushed Seabolt to help paint the new Focus Lighthouse home, a two-story building to help people experiencing behavioral health crises in partnership with Focus Point Mental Health.

“We will do the assessment. We will do any interventions. We will be able to see what they actually need, medication or if they need in-patient treatment, and if so, we would be that soft handoff to do that to the hospital as opposed to the police department,” said Focus Point Mental Health Services President & CEO Angela Williams.

Lynchburg Sheriff Dan Sloan says the police department took hundreds of mental health-related calls last year.

“In 2022, we handled 86 temporary detention orders for the police department, which allowed 172 police officers to remain in our city policing our streets,” said Sloan.

The new service will help officers return to patrol instead of spending hours at the hospital. Services will be provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We will see less people going into the hospital or to the prison. And instead, this will be a diversion location where they can be treated and then they can be released back into their homes,” said Lighthouse Community Center CEO Dan Mathew.

They will provide one-on-one and group sessions, substance use disorder and mental health assessments, medication education, and connections to community resources for increased support and to promote continued stabilization. The triage component supports three people for up to 23 hours. The stabilization component includes three available beds for a stay of between five and 20 days.

Officials say they wanted to create a safe environment in a home-like setting to relieve crisis symptoms through 24/7 support, and help others like Seabolt.

“Having stability from the Lighthouse gave me, helped me be able to focus on my job, help me to focus on my probation condition. Help me get my relationship with my son built back up. It helped me find God. You know, to love again,” added Seabolt.

Operations will start March 20.