RVBH working to destigmatize seeking mental health services

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RiverValley Behavioral Health is working to create a more open and comforting environment for patients utilizing its Crisis Stabilization Unit, according to Michelle Nobles, RVBH director of crisis services.

The unit, within the Old Cigar Factory complex on Walnut Street, is an eight-bed residential program for individuals in need of inpatient services related to substance use or mental health crises.

The unit, Nobles said, has worked to create a supportive, comforting environment for patients who need its services as it works to destigmatize receiving inpatient mental health services.

“There’s that fear of the stigma of entering some sort of mental health facility, but we want it to feel more home-like,” she said. “We don’t want them to feel like they’re walking into a sterile, psychiatric environment. We want to create an environment that makes them feel comfortable, where they can really be open and express themselves.”

Mental health, she said, is just as important as physical health, and individuals who need services should not be afraid to seek them out.

“We’re here,” she said.

The unit, she said, is ready and capable of treating a range of mental health and substance use issues. The most commonly treated issue, however, is suicidal ideation.

Many individuals, according to Nobles, tend to put off mental health treatment until they are in need of emergency crisis treatment.

“I feel like people, a lot of times, feel like they can do it on their own or are just not utilizing the services that are available to them outpatient, and then they deteriorate to a point where outpatient just isn’t going to cut it,” she said.

Nobles said that while the hope is that nobody needs crisis services, RVBH is available when it is needed and will work to connect individuals with other services within the community to upkeep mental health treatment in an outpatient setting once they are discharged.

Additionally, she said, the service is local, and many individuals may not even realize there are services available right in their community, a perk to individuals in need of services so that they can stay close by and maintain a support system.

“We want to make sure folks can stay here in the community where their families can be involved,” she said. “We want family involvement while our clients are here. We want their support system to be involved, we want them to be able to have visitation with their family, and we want to get them connected to resources here in the community.”

The services, according to Nobles, are voluntary and open to anyone ages 18 or older.

Individuals receiving services will typically stay, on average, about 3-5 days.

Anyone in need of services can call the RVBH crisis hotline at 800-433-7291.

“We try to take a very individualized, person-centered approach for every client that comes in the door, and we want to figure out what their needs are, what their strengths are, so that we can work with those to see what’s going to be the best course of treatment for outpatient once they leave here,” she said.

Published on December 7, 2021