LANHAM, Md. (7News) — A new mental health center in Lanham is addressing a top community health concern in Prince George’s County and breaking down barriers to treatment through comprehensive care.
The behavioral health pavilion is on the campus of Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. 7News was given exclusive access to the new eight-bed substance use residential treatment program. It will open this summer and give community members a safe environment to begin the recovery process from drugs or alcohol.
The newly renovated 31,200-square-foot, two-story building is also the home for the urgent walk-in center and outpatient mental health clinic which opened in August 2022. The partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program started accepting patients in January. The 16-bed in-patient psychiatric unit opened on March 27.
“No matter what walk of life you are walking, it’s OK not to be OK. However, it’s not OK to stay there,” said Dr. Aliya Jones, executive medical director of Luminis Health Behavioral Health.
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Most of the funding for the renovations came from Prince George’s County capital funds after Executive Angela Alsobrooks and the county council allocated $20 million to the project.
Navigating mental health treatment is often frustrating, and it can take months to get an appointment.
Coordinated care, under one roof, takes pressure off the patient and hospitals.
“Usually if they’re seeking help, they’d go to an emergency room. This is creating a new place for them,” said 7News Health and Wellness Reporter Victoria Sanchez.
“We really want to shift the paradigm so people can actually go to the appropriate place for the care that they need. The emergency room is designed for people who are acutely a danger to themselves. However, most people who are in a behavioral health crisis are having a hard time, are struggling, but they don’t have thoughts about wanting to harm themselves or harm other people,” explained Jones. “They just need more support, they need someone to talk to, they need to get plugged into outpatient providers, they might need to get started on medications. So, that’s what this program is designed to do.”
It's not just about having accessible programs, Dr. Jones said in order to get rid of some of the fear and distrust of these types of treatment centers, the environment matters. The facility has new and comfortable furniture, windows that allow natural sunlight and gathering areas to eat, watch TV and have group therapy sessions.
The urgent walk-in program is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s for those with a behavioral crisis or concern.
A mental health clinician or nurse practitioner will assess and identify the need. Dr. Jones said the goal is to have the walk-in center open 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. If there is a longer-term mental health need, the outpatient mental health clinic is available for those 4 years old and up. It is staffed by nurse practitioners, psychiatrists and therapists.