‘A need for awhile’: Henrico breaks ground on first youth crisis receiving center

A ground breaking today in Henrico -- that actually breaks new ground on how young people in a mental health crisis.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:38 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Saint Joseph’s Villa and Henrico County are breaking ground on Central Virginia’s first youth crisis receiving center.

The center will be located on Villa’s campus at 8000 Brook Road.

Sen. Lamont Bagby and Del. Rodney Willet joined county leaders and non-profit staff for Thursday morning’s announcement.

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will fund the nearly $1 million project.

The facility will soon be renovated into an emergency room alternative for kids experiencing mental health crises.

The program will provide 24-hour call and walk-in services for those in need with a mental health crisis.

“They will be seen by a nurse, they’ll be seen by a social worker, and they’ll be seen by a psychiatric provider,” The Division Director of Clinical and Prevention Services of Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services, Daniel Rigsby, said.

Capacity in the newly renovated building will begin at 6 and gradually expand to 9.

Family involvement will be vital to the CRC, with in-person and virtual options available.

They must be between ages 7 to 17 and live within Region Four of Central Virginia.

Rigsby says the goal is to reduce hospitalizations and to allow kids to be treated in their own community.

“There’s not enough psychiatric beds right now, and kids spend a long time in an emergency room waiting for a bed. Once they get on a unit, they’re not getting the kind of support and work with their family that they really want. This provides another option between outpatient therapy and an inpatient stay,” Rigsby said.

Data from The Virginia Department of Health shows emergency room visits for suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or suicide attempts among kids 9-18 years old have more than doubled from 2016 to 2021.

“This has been a need for a while, but it’s escalated in more recent years,” Saint Joseph’s Villa Director of Clinical Services Linda Saltonstall said.

This new facility hopes to bring those numbers down by providing rapid access to treatment within 23 hours of a patient’s admission.

“This is clearly a public health emergency,” State Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel said.

Rigsby says they hope to open the facility’s doors by spring 2024.