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Virginia works to build infrastructure for same-day care for person in mental-health crisis

Crystal Graham
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Six grant awards have been allocated statewide to build emergency room alternatives to care for patients experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

The grants will be to complete current projects in development and to enhance staffing at existing crisis receiving centers and crisis stabilization units.

The first round of projects receiving grant funding were announced in December 2023 and included Valley Community Services Board, based in Staunton.

These efforts are being funded through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and will ensure same-day care for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

“These crisis receiving centers and crisis stabilization units will not only ensure Virginians in crisis have somewhere to go in their own community, but they will also help ease the burden on local law enforcement and emergency departments,” said Nelson Smith, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. “Virginia’s community services boards continue to be on the front lines of providing these critical services, and we are grateful to be able to partner with them to ensure these facilities have the infrastructure and staffing they need to be successful and provide the best care possible.”

Projects funded in 2024

Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services Board

The CSB has previously purchased and completed renovation of a credit union building to utilize as their CRC facility. As the project has evolved and existing funding has allowed the CRC to open with limited operations, the CSB has learned additional staffing will be needed for complete operations. These additional funds will support recruitment and onboarding of three additional staff, which will allow for 24/7 operations.

Mount Rogers Community Services Board

Mount Rogers currently operates both a CRC and CSU at separate locations. Funds approved will facilitate relocation of the CRC program to an improved space that will be adjacent to the CSU. The new CRC facility will improve ability for law enforcement to safely hand off cases and get back on the street. CSU capacity will be doubled from eight to 16 beds, and these new funds will also provide operational expense to support staff recruitment and retention.

Planning District One Community Services Board

Currently, the CSB operates a CRC in a building they have already purchased and renovated. However, staffing the site has been difficult with current operational funds. Additional funds will allow for recruitment, onboarding and retention of staff for complete 24/7 operations.

Prince William Community Services Board

Prince William CSB is headlong in developing one of the largest crisis sites in the state with full CRC and CSU operations for children and adults under one roof. This additional appropriation for funds will ensure full and sustained staffing once operational.

Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

The CSB currently operates a crisis stabilization unit, and one-time funds will be provided for construction of an adjacent crisis receiving center. This new facility will provide an essential service to one of the most populated CSBs in the Commonwealth.

Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services

Henrico County will use the funds to complete financing of a large-scale project to establish a new CRC and CSU alongside a new residential detox service. Coordination among these three services will significantly increase the ability to serve individuals in crisis with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues.

Projects announced in December 2023

Blue Ridge Behavioral Health

This proposal will create space for eight to 10 Adult Crisis Receiving Center guests through renovation of space adjacent to the existing Crisis Stabilization Unit.

Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Health

Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), using DBHDS general funds and Project BRAVO funds, is near completion of renovations to an existing property owned by the City of Chesapeake to create Heron’s Cove, a 16-chair Adult Crisis Receiving Center.

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority will update their Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit facility to modern “no-wrong door” standards. A second project will complete a Crisis Receiving Center in early stages of development.

Western Tidewater Community Services Board

Through their proposal, Western Tidewater CSB will build a much-needed purpose-built Adult Crisis Therapeutic Home in Suffolk near the Western Tidewater Crisis Receiving Center.

Valley Community Services Board

Valley CSB will develop a new crisis receiving center and crisis stabilization unit in a high need area using surplus land near Western State Hospital.

Hampton Newport News Community Services Board

This proposal will allow for the expansion of an existing Crisis Stabilization Unit along with the addition of a Crisis Receiving Center.

Colonial Behavioral Health

Colonial Behavioral Health will develop a Crisis Receiving Center near Eastern State Hospital in James City County.

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If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org
For local mental health resources, visit AFP’s Project Mental Health page.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.