With rates of depression and anxiety on the rise, Martha Lambert, Coordinator of Behavioral Health Wellness at the Hanover County Community Services Board (CSB) wants residents to know the CSB provides services that can help them navigate these difficult times.
“In any given year, even without the pressure of a pandemic, one in four Americans will experience a diagnosable mental illness,” Lambert says. “Mental health problems aren’t character defects; they are health problems that require treatment from a healthcare professional. Unfortunately, most people do not seek treatment. The average time between onset of symptoms and treatment is ten years. That’s a long time to suffer from something that could be effectively treated.”
Lambert’s team, which includes Behavioral Health Wellness Specialists Laura Robertson and Dana Gaskin, teach Mental Health First Aid, a course that helps participants identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness.
“Sometimes people don’t recognize they have symptoms,” Robertson says. “They continue to cope the best they can, but life is much harder. They may experience panic attacks, feel perpetually exhausted or feel that things won’t get better. They may lose interest in activities that used to bring them joy, experience sleep changes, thoughts of death or suicide, or engage in reckless behavior. Drinking too much alcohol and misusing prescription or illegal drugs is also a sign.”
Gaskin highlights the CSB’s Same Day Access service in each course. “It’s much easier to access services and be matched with the most appropriate services thanks to Same Day Access. Residents seeking help for mental health or substance use concerns, or who want to begin the process of accessing services related to a developmental disability do not need an appointment. Residents of Hanover can walk through our doors at our Ashland location [12300 Washington Highway] Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and see a clinician that day. The process takes a couple of hours. We see about 90 people per month this way. Most people coming through the door qualify for services. For the handful of people who don’t, we find someone in the community who can help them.”
After eligibility and other screening, individuals seeking services will receive an initial comprehensive assessment that same day. Within seven business days of the initial visit, individuals will have their first treatment appointment and/or a plan for accessing resources and/or services.
“We want to remind people that if they are experiencing symptoms of a brewing mental health problem, they aren’t alone,” Lambert says. “These are hard times and our colleagues on the clinical team are here to help.”
Read here for more information on Hanover’s Same Day Access program or call 804-365-4222.