Rivervalley Behavioral Health plans to open a clinic location in Lewisport, Kentucky. The clinic sits at 1210 Fourth Street; in the old Estes Behavioral Health building near the entrance to Hancock Park. Kyle and Jessica Estes formerly owned the building.
RiverValley plans to hold a grand opening ceremony for the Lewisport Clinic on August 11 at noon.
RiverValley received a $4 million federal grant to expand mental health services in its seven county service area, and become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, RiverValley Behavioral Health President and CEO Dr. Wanda Figueroa said. Some of the services available at the Lewisport clinic include crisis mental health services, including a 24-hour/seven day per week mental health mobile crisis unit.
“Our mobile unit goes to where the person is,” Dr. Figueroa said. “We are the only 24-hour/seven day per week mental health mobile crisis unit in the state.”
As an example she mentioned law enforcement receiving a call at 2 a.m. of a suicidal person in the community. Usually, law enforcement ends up taking the person into custody, and the person receiving treatment after being processed by law enforcement.
With the mobile unit, a trained clinician responds to the scene and helps deescalate the situation, which helps keep both the person in crisis and law enforcement from harm. Figueroa said the mobile unit allows clinicians to see a person at home, in court or even in a hospital setting.
“We are responsible for providing crisis support, Figueroa said.
Other services offered include medication assisted treatment, integrated physical and behavioral health, targeted case management, peer support services, community-based mental health services for members and veterans of the armed services, and mental health first aid training to faith-based communities, law enforcement, school and community groups at no cost.
Figueroa said RiverValley plans to reach out to communities of faith to inform them of services available to help them. She said when people undergo a mental health crisis the person often reaches out to friends and/or communities of faith.
The training helps communities of faith provide needed mental health first aid to a person in crisis; this training does not take the place of seeing a professional counselor, but simply provides help until a professional clinician arrives.
“Mental health and faith go hand-in-hand,” Dr. Figueroa said.
Rivervalley also own a clinic in Hawesville. Once the Lewisport site opens, Rivervalley plans to renovate the Hawesville facility to allow for large groups to undergo treatment there. Dr. Figueroa said many treatment groups, such as substance abuse, parenting classes and mental health meet in large peer group settings. The current facility configuration does not allow for such groups to meet.
Dr. Figueroa said she wanted the community to know that a children’s Psychiatric hospital exists in Owensboro at 1000 Industrial Drive. She said it is one of only three in the state.
“We have specialized units for autism and trauma,” Dr. Figueroa said.
She then relayed a sobering fact: the commonwealth of Kentucky is number one in the nation in child abuse. The Owensboro hospital offers six-to-10 week inpatient treatment for children that suffered abuse, and other forms of trauma.
Dr. Figueroa said Rivervalley Behavioral Health is one of 13 regional health centers in the commonwealth. She said when the Kennedy administration stopped the practice of institutionalizing persons with mental health issues in the 1960s, President Kennedy issued a directive to create community health centers across the United States to treat these persons.
“We serve two metro areas and five counties,” Dr. Figueroa said.
Figueroa said developing mental health services in rural areas presents challenges.
Dr. Figueroa said a negative stigma exists about mental health services in rural areas. Also, distance to a clinic presents problems for many people, and transportation to a clinic also presents challenges.
“We are looking to expand to rural areas because they are under-served,” Dr. Figueroa said. “Our plan was to expand rural services in counties like Hancock.”
By Ralph Dickerson