Pink is known for breast cancer awareness; yellow ribbons are recognized as veteran support; multicolored puzzle pieces represent Autism awareness. You might not have known that green is the official color for mental health awareness.
The first step in understanding mental illness is starting the conversation. As we see growth in our community’s desire to know more about mental health, professionals in the field are eagerly reaching out to increase education and awareness opportunities. Representatives from University Healthcare-Berkeley Medical Center attend monthly meetings for the Behavioral Health Workgroup at Shenandoah Community Health. The purpose of this group is to allow mental health professionals in the tri-state area to promote new programs available, discuss ways to improve current services, develop strategies to increase community awareness and represent and advocate for this region to West Virginia state legislators. The workgroup operates under the dedicated vision to better serve the identified population by addressing mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment needs in the Eastern Panhandle. Any professional working in a human services field who wishes to become a member of the workgroup is invited to attend on the first Wednesday of every month at 9 a.m.
As part of the Workgroup, the Family Resource Network is actively building a resource directory for the community to access. One of the resources is the community’s premiere health care facility, University Healthcare Berkeley Medical Center. BMC offers acute, inpatient psychiatric treatment for patients 18 and older. The behavioral health unit is staffed by 10 registered nurses, three licensed practical nurses, 12 patient care technicians, six crisis workers, three social workers and three nationally accredited psychiatrists. Treatment includes psychiatric crisis stabilization, medication management, case management and discharge planning. Patients in a psychiatric crisis under the age of 18 who come to the emergency department will be triaged and then consulted by an emergency psychiatric services crisis worker. The crisis worker will complete an assessment and, in collaboration with the psychiatrist and emergency department team, will determine the appropriate level of care needed.
Mental illness is a serious condition that deserves attention.
— Angela Porturica is a crisis worker at University Behavioral Health, an inpatient unit at Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg