New clinic offers mental health, substance abuse services

GEORGETOWN — A state-based resource/treatment option targeting mental health and substance abuse is set to open next week in the heart of Sussex County.

Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) announced Thursday it will officially open the Sussex County Bridge Clinic July 15 at the Promise Access Center in Georgetown.

The new bridge clinic, which will provide screening and referrals to treatment as well as additional services, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

It is available to all Delaware residents at the Thurman Adams State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown.

This new support is for individuals and families impacted by the effects of mental health and substance use issues. The Sussex County clinic joins a similar clinic in New Castle County, which opened in March near New Castle.

Clinic services, which do not require an appointment, include:
• screening and referrals to treatment.
• evaluations conducted by qualified, licensed clinicians.
• guidance navigating the care network.
• training for administering naloxone, an overdose-reversal medication.
• transportation to and from the facility may be available.
• all services made available regardless of ability to pay.

“In opening this Sussex County Bridge Clinic, we are providing rapid access to qualified clinicians who can help individuals and their families to understand what type of treatment is needed for loved ones and how to engage with the treatment system,” said Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “For too many Delaware families in the throes of a behavioral health crisis, they can be overwhelmed simply by trying to navigate the system. The Bridge Clinic provides an in-person starting point.”

The state’s announcement comes about nine months after a psychiatric/behavioral health hospital opened in Georgetown.

Last October, SUN Behavioral Delaware opened its 90-bed behavioral health hospital in Georgetown’s College Park development across from Delaware Technical Community College. SUN’s two-story, 93,000-square-foot psychiatric hospital offers localized behavioral healthcare, with both inpatient and outpatient services.

“I think it’s a good thing. The more mental and substance abuse places we have for people to go to … to try to get help, to try to get off the drugs, I am all for it,” said Georgetown Mayor Bill West. “I see this as an added feature where it’s going to – not subsidize – but it’s going assist and work alongside SUN Behavioral. This will give some people that don’t want to go that (SUN Behavioral) route an opportunity to get some help through the state.”

According to Sec. Walker, the opening of the new bridge clinic helps to engage high-risk populations in treatment, one of four main recommendations from a team of researchers and clinicians at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In April 2017, Sec. Walker asked Johns Hopkins to conduct a review of Delaware’s addiction treatment system.

In July 2018, the Johns Hopkins team issued a 33-page report that proposed four main strategies:
• Increase the capacity of the treatment system.
• Engage high-risk populations in treatment.
• Create incentives for quality care.
• Use data to guide reform and monitor progress.

“Our bridge team leads with care and commitment,” said DSAMH Director Elizabeth Romero. “Persistence is a core principle, and they will never give up helping a client along their journey to recovery.”

For more information, call the Sussex County Bridge Clinic at 302-515-3310.
To reach the New Castle County Bridge Clinic at 14 Central Ave., New Castle (just off U.S. 13), call 302-255-1650.

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