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Breaking ground on the region's first-of-its-kind behavioral health emergency department

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Posted at 10:54 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 17:54:22-04

HAMPTON, Va. -- Peninsula healthcare workers, law enforcement, and members of the community took part in the groundbreaking of a new behavioral health center in Hampton.

Earlier this year, Riverside Behavioral Health Center announced the creation of what it says is the region's first standalone psychiatric emergency department.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon.

Set to open late next year, the psychiatric ED at Riverside Behavioral Health Center will be the latest addition to Riverside’s Behavioral Health Center campus and will be a 24-hour, 7 days-a-week support option for community members who may be experiencing a psychiatric crisis.

“Here at Riverside Behavioral Health Center, we also have an adolescent acute unit, and we’re seeing those numbers continue to climb as opposed to decrease," explained Stacey Johnson, president of Riverside Behavioral Health Center. "I think part of that is families focusing on whole wellness, not only the medical wellness of an individual but the mental health wellness of their children and really seeking help before it’s too late."

Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan spoke at the ceremony about how this is a welcomed addition to the Peninsula.

"As far as community, this is the best way to deal with the mental health treatment of our citizens in a humane way that doesn’t require them to be locked up, and it gives them the best opportunity and the best outcomes," Sheriff Morgan stated.

The psychiatric emergency department will include 10 private rooms, but Johnson explained they are also adding community programs to expand their reach. There will be a unit for adults and a unit designed for ages 12-17. That area will also include sensory rooms.

It's expected to open in late 2023.