Relieving Mental Health Crisis in Southwest Missouri
The good news is that hospitals in the Springfield area have made efforts to get those who need them faster. Mercy added a behavioral medicine department to his psychiatric emergency department and expanded his mental health services to include telemedicine. CoxHealth increased its psych-safe beds from four to 14 and expanded its addiction treatment services, and Burrell opened the Behavioral Crisis Center in June 2020.
The new walk-in clinic takes care of everyone who needs it. “It’s like urgent mental health care,” says Davis. When there was any doubt about the need for such a clinic, Davis referred to the 800 patients treated at the clinic in the first eight months. “50 percent of the calls are related to substance abuse,” says Davis. “We can connect individuals with safe detox attitudes and we have crisis beds for outpatient psychological care. The most important thing is that you can contact us if you have an urgent need for care or if you have severe depression or anxiety or thoughts of suicide. “
One of the goals of the clinic is to reduce the number of mental patients who would normally go to the emergency room as the first port of call. “You can wait two to three hours in a hospital, and that’s wasted time,” says Davis. “We’ll put you in touch with the right care.” This type of clinic is not only beneficial for patients who need immediate psychiatric care, or at least finding the best avenue of treatment, but also hospitals, which traditionally bear much of the burden. “Mercy ED saw a 38% decrease in behavioral health visits because they were the first point of contact,” says Davis. Both Mercy and CoxHealth contribute financially to Burrell’s Behavioral Health Clinic; Davis says it’s an example of how key players in Greene County are working together to meet the need for more mental health services. But there’s a new way Burrell has improved his mental health offerings that was never part of the plan – introducing his Be Well Community.
If you’ve ever followed Burrell at the height of the pandemic, you may have noticed Burrell’s daily live Facebook sessions, where his team members walked viewers through meditations, mental health checks, and stress relief exercises. These sessions actually started as an internal service for the Burrell team, which was under tremendous pressure with the arrival of COVID. “Our management team was in meetings all day every day to prepare everything [for COVID], and somewhere in there [Davis] looked around and asked, ‘What are we doing to take care of our employees?’ “said Matt Lemmon, Marketing Director at Burrell.
This simple question led to the creation of an in-house support and wellness program that ran a daily 30-minute Zoom session. “It was about being mindful and giving space to grief,” says Lemmon. Ultimately, Burrell’s team decided that the same daily livestream could be helpful for other people struggling with stress and grief due to COVID Facebook live streams every day at 12:45 p.m. “We started seeing the hunger for more behavioral health support and information overnight,” says Davis. “The number of people signing up live grew and we later saw the number of people watching videos.
The Be Well Community has been so successful that Burrell is now partnering with companies to deploy the program in their offices. “We see this as a new front door for Burrell,” says Davis. “With us you don’t have to worry about having a connection with us.”