Region 8 gets off to fast start

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The coats of fresh paint and yards of tightly-laid carpetcouldn’t have come soon enough.

Region 8 Mental Health Service’s new temporary headquarters inthe old Brookhaven Children’s Clinic has been open less than threeweeks, but already the office on has done monumental business.Speaking Monday at an open house for the facility on Highway 51North, executive director Dave Van said the office has seen betweeneight and 10 new patients per day since opening on Oct. 1.

“We’ve had a lot of volume since we opened up,” Van said. “Theneed is here.”

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Van said the Lincoln County office is seeing the most volume ofany of the region’s five counties, which also include Copiah,Madison, Rankin and Simpson counties. He said high volume is normalfor a new office location – just not that high.

“I didn’t expect it to be at the volume it has been,” Vansaid.

Part of the new Region 8 office’s volume is coming fromSouthwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex (Region 11), thecommunity mental health provider that served Lincoln County for 36year before supervisors voted to switch regions in early June. Vansaid between 400 and 500 former Region 11 patients have begunreceiving care from Region 8, but the high volume of new patientsvisiting the office is not part of that group.

Of course, the high number of new patients visiting the centeris still not as high as what the reality could be. Van pointed outthe National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 20 percentof an area’s population requires mental health treatment, meaningthere could be approximately 6,500 people in Lincoln County whocould use what the new office has to offer.

David Mullins, administrator for the Region 8-operatedBrookhaven Crisis Intervention Center, said the number of newpatients arriving at the office may be closer to 15 per day.

“The good thing is they’re accessing the service,” he said.”When a person feels free to come in and get these services, that’sa good thing. We’ve already had to use our crisis center forvoluntary admissions who came to the clinic first.”

Region 8 now has its full array of services set up in LincolnCounty, with means to transport to other areas of the region formore long-term treatment options. Clients visiting the region’sheadquarters may receive therapy, physician, pharmacy and nursingservices; services for the elderly; see the mental health clinicalcoordinator; case manager; or enroll in the daily clubhouseprogram.

Mental health maintenance services are also available, includingbehavioral services, family counseling, parenting skills andprevention.

The clubhouse program is hosted nearby at the crisis center,where Region 8’s formidable crisis response services operate.