Behavioral Health Clinic offers confidential help
With the continued stress of the COVID-19 environment, winter blues and isolation due to the cold weather, many in our community may be experiencing depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are very common in older adults, but not commonly diagnosed or treated.
Research shows that the majority of older adults and their loved ones accept their symptoms of depression as a consequence of the many losses experienced as people age: retirement, loss of social contact and driving privileges, loss of friends, loss of spouse or other loved ones, loss of income. There also remains a strong stigma attached to mental health treatment that prevents many patients from seeking treatment, even when they know they need help. It is particularly important for older patients or their families to recognize that depression is not normal at any age, and it is not just an acceptable fact of growing older.
Until just two years ago, convenient access to treatment for behavioral health issues had not always been easily available. Now residents of Pocahontas County and surrounding areas are benefitting from treatment under the care of a licensed clinical social worker through Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Behavioral Health Clinic, an outpatient mental health service specifically for older adults.
The clinic first opened January 2, 2020 under the leadership of Program Director Angela Lester, who has more than 30 years of mental health experience. After a tumultuous first two years, weathering COVID-19 and shut downs, the clinic continues to serve patients and our community. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, located in the former medical office of Dr. Soriano on Duncan Road. Individuals may self-refer, or their primary care or other provider can refer them by contacting the clinic. Each referred individual will receive a free assessment from the program prior to beginning treatment, which will determine if they would benefit from treatment.
“Once admitted to the program, patients participate in up to three group therapy sessions a day with physician management of their mental health medications, and may receive individual and/or family counseling as needed,” Lester said. The program coordinates medication management, therapy and discharge planning with other medical providers as needed and appropriate. Participants may initially come up to three days per week, depending on their needs, with participation tapering off to fewer visits as their symptoms subside. The average individual generally spends an average of about 12 to 16 weeks in the program, which is typically covered by medical insurance.
There are many benefits of treatment, and with today’s convenient access to it, there are hundreds of potential patients in the community who would otherwise fail to get the help they need.
For more information, contact the Behavioral Health Program Director Angela Lester at 304-799-1075 or firstname.lastname@example.org