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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: August 1, 2016


NEW CASTLE (Aug. 1, 2016) - In another step toward increasing behavioral health services in the community and diverting individuals in crisis away from hospital emergency departments, the Department of Health and Social Services is funding a new Recovery Response Center (RRC) for New Castle County operated by RI International, formerly Recovery Innovations.

The 24/7 crisis walk-in center, which opened in July, will have a grand opening from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at its 659 E. Chestnut Hill Road location in Newark. The new 16-bed center is similar to the DHSS-funded Recovery Response Center in Ellendale, which serves Kent and Sussex counties, and opened in August 2012. That center also is operated by RI International.

"As we continue to reform the public mental health system in our state, providing robust community-based services is at the heart of those changes," said Gov. Jack Markell, who will attend the grand opening. "Through the center in Ellendale, we have provided crisis services close to where people live in Kent and Sussex counties. Opening a similar 24/7 crisis service in New Castle County allows behavioral health professionals the opportunity to assess the immediate needs of each individual, while also reducing the strain on hospital emergency departments."

The walk-in center offers a crisis assessment and engagement program for up to 23 hours for adults with significant mental health or addiction challenges. It provides an opportunity for an individual to be stabilized and assessed to determine if the client needs additional treatment in a hospital setting.

DHSS' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) expects to duplicate the successes it has seen in Kent and Sussex counties in terms of diverting individuals in crisis away from hospital emergency departments. About 130 to 150 people are evaluated each month at the Ellendale center, with 80 percent diverted away from hospitalization. Being seen at the Recovery Response Center does not preclude an individual in crisis from being referred to a hospital by RRC staff.

"Individuals experiencing behavioral health crises deserve the most appropriate level of care and the most efficient care we can provide in the community," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "We see how effective the Ellendale center has been, and we know we will see similar successes in New Castle County, too."

In addition to the Ellendale and Newark centers, RI International has extensive experience operating similar programs across the country, employing no-force-first, trauma-informed care, peer support and recovery-based outcomes. A total of 28 staff members are working at the Newark center, including a nurse practitioner who is either on-site or on-call 24/7 and works under the supervision of RI International's medical director/psychiatrist. Additional staff members are mental health professionals, psychiatric nurses and peer support specialists. A constable is on duty 24/7.

"The Newark center, like the Ellendale one, provides a welcoming and friendly space for people who need assessment and support through a behavioral health crisis," Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) Director Mike Barbieri said. "The goal is not only to divert people away from hospitalization and higher levels of care, but to engage them in a voluntary recovery opportunity and to connect them to community-based services and supports as they move forward."

As part of the expansion to New Castle County, state and local law enforcement personnel are being made aware of the availability and purpose of the new crisis walk-in center and trained on the protocol for referring and transferring individuals.

"Upon entering our facility, those we serve are met by trained clinicians and peers with lived experience who work to help people rest and deescalate," said Leon Boyko, RI International's Chief of Crisis and Chief Administrative Officer. "Within just 60 to 90 minutes, they'll also see a psychiatric medical provider either in person or via telemedicine, depending on the time of day."

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.