CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The city of Chesapeake has been without a licensed behavior health unit. It means people who need help have to go further to get treatment.

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is changing that by adding a 20-bed unit so patients can get treatment closer to home.

“We are beginning a journey together to transform our behavioral health system,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Monday.

Before, he said, people would often only get emergency service when they were in crisis.

“If we don’t do something now, we may never ever get ahold of it,” he said. “The system is being overwhelmed. It’s being overwhelmed because so many Virginians are in need of behavioral health support and the system isn’t built to treat as many people as we have.”

That’s why he launched “Right Help, Right Now” to allow resources for pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis care.

Those behavioral health transformations are taking shape at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

“This is more systematic to let people know what resources are available,” Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said. “If you have a broken leg, you should get some treatment for that. Anyone experiencing problems should have access to treatment.”

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is adding a comprehensive psychiatric emergency program where someone can come in if they need help.

They’ll then be able to get help in the inpatient and outpatient programs.

“I have been hugely impressed by the vision,” Youngkin said. “The vision of treating holistically the patient on their journey. It’s great to be here at Chesapeake Regional to see the capacity being built. This is about getting Virginians the right help when they need it, which is right now.”

The CPEP is estimated to open sometime next summer.

The inpatient and outpatient programs will open shortly after, around October 2024.


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