Mental health

Prince William Co. Creating Facility for Mental Health Crises

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Prince William County is developing a first-in-Virginia crisis receiving center to increase immediate access to mental health and substance abuse care.

The frustrating quest for care can feel isolating. Prince William County Public Schools associate superintendent Denise Huebner had to leave the county to get help for one of her kids.

"I remember being on the phone and I remember saying, 'But I need help, I need an appointment, you have to help me,' and I was told there's a six-month waiting list," she said.

Inside the old Gander Mountain store in Woodbridge, Prince William County will launch a new concept in mental health care.

"Mental health was being swept under the rug; it is no longer so," said Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey, who is leading the project.

The crisis receiving center will increase access and capacity for mental health care. It will be an option for emergency response drop-offs and walk-ins.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin took a walkthrough Thursday.

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“It will be a national standard and it will be in Virginia,” he said.

A CDC survey found when Americans seek mental health care, almost 40% face delays to get it.

In Virginia, the survey results are a bit worse with almost 43% of people projected to face delays.

Huebner works as an Associate Superintendent in Prince William schools and says their families are struggling with this.

"We find that our parents are having difficulty attaining appointments or immediate treatment, and our students end up spending time in an emergency room or without care that they need," Huebner said.

The crisis receiving center – if fully funded – is set to open in late 2024, but it still needs about $2 million in annual operating budget. Youngkin hopes the state legislature will reach a decision on a budget that could help close that funding gap.

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