Chesapeake Health Care has opened a new mental health care facility in Salisbury, helping people stay connected with needed behavioral health support during Covid-19.
Salisbury, MD (May 15, 2020) — As the pandemic continues to disrupt people’s everyday lives, access to mental health services and emotional support has never been more critical. Chesapeake Health Care (CHC) continues to respond to the healthcare needs of the community with the opening of a new mental health office in Salisbury, Maryland.
The new site offers comprehensive therapy services for children and adults. There are currently 35 staff members including medical receptionists, an interpreter, medical assistants, therapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Also, the new site continues to offer PRP (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program) services to children and adolescents with a staff of five PRP workers. The office will soon have a full-service lab where a phlebotomist will be on-site doing genetic swabs, blood samples, urine cultures, etc. With a total of 45 offices, interactive playrooms, two group therapy rooms, and two PRP workrooms, there is plenty of space to grow.
The mental health providers are adapting their traditional methods of treatment during the pandemic. The staff is screening all patients and visitors for COVID-19 upon entering the building and requiring everyone to wear a mask. They are also practicing social distancing in the waiting room as well as in the therapy sessions. “First and foremost, we want to ensure the health and safety of our clients as well as our staff,” said Celeste Grudzien, LCSW-C, Mental Health Site Manager.
In the past few years, CHC had already seen a steadily growing demand for therapy and counseling. With the coronavirus pandemic causing unprecedented levels of stress and grief, CHC is now seeing a massive surge in clients seeking help.
Grudzien admits that anxiety levels have increased across the board for everyone. “We’re all living with some level of fear, whether it’s worrying about the future of our jobs and our finances, or anxiety from watching the news. I want to let people know that they can reach out to us for help,” she said.
To address this surging need, CHC has established additional methods of providing therapy. Clients can still physically come to the office and have in-person sessions. But CHC now also offers telehealth options within the office where clients sit in a separate room and, using a computer, they can speak with the therapist. Alternatively, clients can log in to a therapy session using a secure meeting site from home. The virtual visits are conducted using video conferencing software that complies with patient privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. “Whatever method they choose, we want to make sure that everyone who needs help can get it,” said Grudzien.
One of the positive outcomes during this pandemic is increased parental interactions and involvement using telehealth sessions. Telehealth has opened an opportunity for therapists to connect with the parents during, before, or after therapy sessions as the parents are available at home. “In working with children and their parents during this time, we are seeing an increased need for providing telehealth therapy, to offer support, parenting tips, emotional regulation, and anxiety-reducing coping skills to mention a few,” said Grudzien. “It’s also been positive for the child because the parents are now more involved in their child’s therapy as well as their schoolwork.”
The impacts of this pandemic are not limited to the virus itself, which is one of the reasons why the opening of the new mental health office is so important right now. “We’re also doing more proactively by reaching out to our most vulnerable clients, so they understand their options regarding how best to continue their treatment, including prescription refills,” said Crystal Lambert, head of the Mental Health Department at Chesapeake Health Care.
With the addition of this new facility, CHC now has five mental health locations across the Lower Eastern Shore. CHC has been providing comprehensive primary care and preventive care to individuals in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties since 1994. In 2019, CHC provided health care to nearly 50,000 patients. “We will continue to ensure that the people we serve in this community can stay connected and receive the medical and behavioral health care they need and deserve during this challenging time,” said Brian Holland, CEO, Chesapeake Health Care.
CHC’s new mental health building is located at 1104 Healthway Drive in Salisbury and is accepting new and current clients. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For appointments, please call 410-219-1100.