A typical behavioral health center treats patients with a mental illness and sometimes substance abuse. But the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic is creating Hampton’s Riverside Behavioral Health Center to open their doors to new patients without mental health issues.
Riverside Behavioral Health Center has 126 beds to help adolescents and adults. Since the pandemic started, the number of people battling substance abuse went up.
“We’ve been fairly full. We do have room to treat folks at this time but we have been busy,” said Executive Director Stacey Johnson.
Johnson explained they are busy but not with their typical patients.
“We are now offering our services without a co-occurring mental illness. So those that just have a substance use disorder, we’re able to help that population as well,” said Johnson.
Johnson explained COVID-19 isolation and depression is ramping up substance abuse in the community.
“The calls that are coming into our admissions department and hearing about the need from folks seeking additional services. We’ve seen increases due to alcohol sales as well as overdoses throughout the state of Virginia,” said Johnson.
Before being admitted into the behavioral health center, each patient will receive a COVI-19 test.
“Just to ensure that everyone is safe. Not only the patients and the other patients, but our staff as well,” said Johnson.
Johnson said after a negative test result, detox patients will have access to 24-hour care and be on the road to recovery.