May is Mental Health Awareness Month

A Closer Look at Mental Health Treatment Myth vs. FactDid you know that the signs of mental illness can differ depending on the type and severity of the disorder? Some general symptoms can include changes in eating/sleeping habits, mood swings, withdrawal, isolation, excessive worrying, changes in work/academic performance, hyperactivity, suicidal thoughts, self-injurious behaviors, self-medicating, etc.

Emergency Services offers assessments and interventions to children and adults who are in a crisis situation and identifies the least restrictive level of care. Emergency Services Crisis Center is a 24-hour, 365 days a year program providing comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessments with a strong focus on current mental status and risk assessment. Emergency Services provides services at one of our community based sites or in the home, schools, residential settings, hospitals, etc. Adult outreach to homes and other off-site locations are available until 8:00 pm. Outreach for children ages 0-20 is provided 24/7. Interventions with children ages 0-20 can occur at any location including homes with Emergency Services involvement for up to 8 hours the first day and an additional 6 days of support as needed.

Emergency Services’ screening instrument offers a comprehensive picture of each client’s history, current symptomology, and degree of risk associated with suicidal or homicidal ideation and/or impaired judgment. Upon presentation, every effort is made to contact community providers to assist in the process of information gathering and to stabilize the client’s current crisis situation and return them to the community with supports. If there is a wait for an outpatient appointment, Emergency Services are able to schedule clients to come back in for follow ups in order to bridge the time.

In an average month, Emergency Services sees 850 (includes evaluations, re-evaluations, phone calls, triage, etc…)

In cases where adult clients are in need of a higher level of care but do not meet the criteria to go to an inpatient facility, we offer Community Crisis Stabilization (CCS). All clients admitted to CCS are seen by a psychiatrist, meet with a social worker on a daily basis, and attend groups. Groups are provided to include psycho-education, symptom management, coping strategies, stress relief, etc. Contact is made with all existing providers, agencies and organizations involved in the treatment of the client. Family or significant other meetings are often facilitated to assist clients with a smooth transition back to the community. CCS’s work on the unit is short-term, problem focused; designed to relieve the acute symptomatology present and return the client to the community as soon as possible. The average length of stay in CCS is three to five days. The unit is not locked and admission is voluntary. The 9 bed unit provides 24-hour nursing, a mental health assistant (7:00 am – 11:00 pm, seven days a week), a full time social worker (Monday through Friday) and cross over social workers from our Emergency Services (24/7, as needed).

CCS accommodates clients who, in the past, would have been put on an inpatient unit due to the need for immediate medication evaluations or enhanced support to deal with current stressors.

In an average month CCS serves 80 clients

In cases where a child clients are in need of a higher level of care, but do not meet criteria to go to an inpatient facility we offer Community Based Acute Treatment (CBAT). All clients admitted to CBAT are seen by a psychiatrist. CBAT is a short-term (7-10 days) residential treatment model for children ages 4-18 in need of acute crisis stabilization. The unit is not locked and admission is voluntary. The 9 bed unit offers psychiatry, clinical social work, case management, therapeutic groups, and residential and education services. The therapeutic milieu is designed to promote reintegration of the child into his/her family, biological or otherwise. Most of the children originate from Greater New Bedford; however, the program is available to any resident of Massachusetts.

In an average month CBAT serves 42 clients.

Kristen Andrade LMHC

CBAT Program Director