During the pandemic, the team at Vancouver Clinic They noticed a sudden and dramatic increase in rates of mental health decline, according to Dr. Michael Ball, medical director of primary care, urgent care, and continuous improvement at The Vancouver Clinic.
To meet this growing need, the Department of Mental Health continues to expand its services.
the Vancouver Clinic Center for Mental Health – New Central Mental Health Care Center at 2415 Northeast 134th Street, Suite 301 in Salmon Creek – Opens Mondays.
“We’ve seen the need for mental health care in the community grow,” said Paul. “We felt it was essential for us to grow to meet this need and develop a dedicated space to serve these patients.”
Before, mental health care providers were located throughout the Vancouver clinic locations. The new space is much quieter – removed from the hustle and bustle of other clinics.
“I think our patients were also really asking for a space where they could feel more treated,” said Stacy Regalado, clinic director. “(We were) very careful with the way we designed this office and making sure our patients felt safe and comfortable coming to see their psychiatrist for therapy.”
The Vancouver Clinic’s Central Mental Health Center has 11 rooms, each of which can be shared by two doctors. The new clinic also has one examination room. This room will be used primarily to administer an injection of medication given to patients with schizophrenia, according to Regalado.
The Vancouver Clinic’s Department of Mental Health includes 14 physicians who specialize in mental health care. When the department first opened in 2016, there was only one. Of the fourteen current doctors, seven are therapists and seven are psychiatrists. Among the seven psychiatrists, one is a geriatric psychiatrist, one is a perinatal psychiatrist and one is a child psychiatrist.
The team at the Vancouver Clinic Mental Health Center plans to hire an additional psychiatrist, child psychologist and five new therapists in 2023 to continue to meet the growing need for mental health care in the community. Last year, the department served nearly 2,800 patients, according to data from the Vancouver Clinic. Many of these patients were seen online by telehealth.
Telehealth services will continue with the opening of the new center, though the team expects to see more patients in person.
In 2022, the Vancouver Clinic’s Department of Mental Health initiated two different group therapy sessions hosted on Zoom. The first is a “healthy coping skills” group that uses dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. The other group is the “Acceptance Commitment Therapy” group for people with depression. While it is currently only offered online, the department plans to offer in-person collections as well, once the Vancouver Clinic Mental Health Center has finished further expansion of the new centre, which is currently underway.
“One of the foundation’s strategic areas has been to address a mental health need,” Powell said. “We’ve grown significantly to seven psychiatrists now, and we continue to recruit to meet that demand. So I think the physical space is also something that represents that commitment to further growth and development.”
Appointments with mental health practitioners are currently only offered to patients of the Vancouver Clinic referred by their primary care providers.
For more information about the mental health services provided through the Vancouver Clinic, visit tvc.org/services/mental-health.