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Riverside Health System to Bring First-of-Its Kind Psychiatric Emergency Department to the Region

April 12, 2022

Today, Riverside Health System announces the establishment of the region’s very first standalone psychiatric emergency department. Set to open in late 2023, the psychiatric emergency department (ED) at Riverside Behavioral Health Center will be the latest addition to Riverside’s Behavioral Health Center campus and be a 24 hour, 7 days-a-week support option for community members who may be experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Patients in need of support will be greeted and cared for by mental health specialists trained in the best techniques for empathetically assisting patients with non-physical care needs.

Mental health crises represent an annual average of approximately 13.2 million emergency department visits, however, resources for patients in need of psychiatric care can vary depending on provider training, the volume of the facility and other factors. The addition of the psychiatric ED represents a necessary prioritization of mental health services for the community and ensures access to specialized services not seen anywhere else in Virginia.

“When facing a mental health crisis, many people are unsure of where to go, which often leads them to law enforcement or a traditional ER setting. While both provide the best support they can, we recognize our community needs more personalized, compassionate mental health care,” said Stacey Johnson, Executive Director, Riverside Behavioral Health Center. “With 24/7 access to a psychiatric-specific emergency department, the community will have greater access to fully integrated, whole-person care during their time of greatest need. We are proud to be another healing hand for our community to grow stronger.”

A patient’s experience within the psychiatric ED will begin with a thoughtful, comprehensive assessment of their immediate care needs utilizing the SBIRT model (screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment). Once this is determined, patients work directly with a psychiatric healthcare provider as well as a Care Coordinator to determine additional needs for their health. This can include short-term recovery support, or if longer-term care is needed, admission to the Riverside Behavioral Health Center to create and implement additional care and recovery.

“The physical and mental well-being of our community is at the heart of every decision we make. It’s a part of our continued mission to care for others as we would care for those we love — to enhance their well-being and improve their health. That is why we are expanding the community’s access to empathy during difficult moments,” says Dr. Ryan McQueen, Chief Medical Director, Riverside Behavioral Health Center. “We are proud to evolve our services to ensure we are there for our patients during every step of their path to recovery and look forward to the positive impact these new resources will have on the community’s health and wellness.”

If you or a loved one needs assistance or more information on behavioral health services, our specially-trained Riverside Behavioral Health Center team can help. Please call us today at 1-757-827-3119 to get started toward healing.