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Negotiating for Expanded Mental Health Services in Arlington - Source Connection news papers

Posted on Sep 05,2018
Filed Under News , Community,

Looking at the Virginia Hospital Center psychiatric unit (first floor) from the outside: it is above ground and has windows, but mental health advocates say the impression inside is that it is dark and basement-like. Improved location/design of the mental health unit at the hospital is one of 4 “asks” listed by Arlington’s CSB. Photo by Eden Brown.

Source Connection news papers

By Eden Brown

ARLINGTON, VA. - “We are still negotiating, but as a parent, I’ve come to understand Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) does not serve children. They don’t do anything ‘scheduled’ in pediatrics. Yes, you can be born there, and they do neonatal intensive care if there is an issue ... but nothing else,” Naomi Verdugo, a NAMI [National Alliance On Mental Illness] member, said. “Parents cross their fingers that their kids don’t need to be hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, because there is no place to go for children or those with complex health issues.”

In 2015, VHC proposed the expansion of the hospital on an adjacent parcel of land at 1800 N. Edison St. This initiated a process to evaluate the site and community needs, consider options of purchase agreements and collect public input. A land swap was finalized between the county and VHC. The proposed expansion will now go through the county's site plan review process.

Verdugo urged residents to write to the county board and County Manager Mark Schwartz. The board meeting was pushed back to hear the county manager’s report first. Special education teachers in Arlington public schools and other mental health advocacy groups are speaking about the issue at the Sept. 6 Planning Commission meeting leading up to County Board consideration on Sept. 22. Meetings will take place at the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center at Courthouse Plaza at 7 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively.

Source Connection news papers

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