Hanover hospital to open mental health crisis center - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Hanover hospital to open mental health crisis center

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

Robin Williams' death is once again putting mental health in the spotlight. Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds weighed in on the actor's death, Tweeting "RIP" and then, "If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255."
Last year, Deeds was stabbed by son, who later committed suicide.

Virginia legislators have since taken strides to reform mental health policies and funding throughout the state. Recently, Hanover County received more than $450,000 to implement a new mental health crisis assessment center at the Memorial Regional Medical Center. The facility within the hospital is set to open next month.

The assessment center collaborates with the Hanover County Sheriff's Office, along with hospital professionals and the county's Community Services Board, to bring patients more streamlined care. The Community Services Board oversees mental health throughout Hanover.

The hospital's interim chief medical officer, Dr. Yvette Johnson-Threat, says the receiving center for mental health patients is critical to helping them.

"It's improved efficiency, and it's in a calm environment. Environment plays a big part in the patient experience when they're in a crisis," said Dr. Johnson-Threat.

Officers and other first responders are often on the front lines of handling people with mental illness. The Hanover County Sheriff's office estimates deputies bring about 30 patients each month to the hospital. Those officers often must accompany the patient for hours.

Now, an off-duty deputy will be staffed at the center. That allows other deputies to get back out on the road. The patient will also have quicker access to a trained health professional through the  Community Services Board.

"This will allow patients to have an efficient and safe environment to receive an evaluation and be sent to inpatient services or outpatient services," continued Dr. Johnson-Threat.
        
The center is slated to be open seven days a week, from noon until 10 p.m.. There will also be a taxi-driver on site to transport patients.

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