Behavioral Health Services during COVID

Lisa Beitz, executive director of Region Ten Community Services, and Rebecca Kendall, director of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition spoke at the April SSV meeting on the behavioral health services available to the greater Charlottesville community. The program was moderated by SSV President Jeff Gould who recently completed six years serving on the Board of the Region Ten Community Services.

The Zoom video is available by clicking

Lisa Beitz is the executive director for Region Ten Community Services Board. This is the public behavioral health safety net serving the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson. Lisa is a doctoral candidate in social work, has a master’s degree in social work, and holds a license as a clinical social worker (LCSW). Lisa has worked for 29 years in various public and nonprofit settings that serve the most vulnerable people in our communities. Lisa believes that “there but for the grace of God go I”: we are all vulnerable to experiencing a behavioral health challenge, so we must embrace other people’s struggles as if they were our own. Lisa is a leader who is amazed by incredible resiliencies all people possess and believes in services and supports that honor and respect the unique recovery journey for each individual.

Rebecca Kendall is the director of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition.  She has a master’s in social work and over two decades of leadership experience in community health.  She is passionate about promoting health equity and building effective collaborations to improve mental health and wellbeing in our community.  She is also a mom of a teen and a tween and is juggling many balls during COVID homeschooling.

Program Summary

Rebecca Kendall stated that the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition collaborates with providers through planning, advocacy and delivery of effective services to promote behavioral health and wellness. She stated that all their services have been affected by COVID. Problems occurring include effects of social isolation, food insecurity, unemployment and school closings among others. Some of the consequences have been increased alcohol consumption, increase in requests for services and overdoses seen in ERs. On the positive side the increase in Zoom telehealth services, where available, has been very fruitful. Two new services have been developed: Warmline–to help people who are stressed and to connect them to local care (877-349-6428), and a free service for essential workers (434-202-6322).

Rebecca Kendall, Lisa Beitz and moderator Jeff Gould

Lisa Beitz is the executive director of the Region Ten Community Services Board which is required by law to be available 24/7 to assess people for involuntary hospitalization and case management assessment for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders as funds allow. Region Ten serves the City of Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson, and is involved in over 40 programs and has more than 550 staff, though one-third have been furloughed as a result of COVID. Local trends exacerbated by COVID include lack of psychiatric hospital beds and closing of resources that keep individuals safe in the community leading to more hospitalizations. As the stressors increase, the need for services has increased. She concluded with the challenge of trying to create a workforce to work with challenged individuals in the future.

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