Making a difference: The Lincoln Wellness Center celebrates one year in Lincoln County
It’s been a successful year for Lincoln Wellness Center. Monarch, Alexander Youth Network, Phoenix Counseling Center and Support Inc., led by Partners Behavioral Health Management, has created a successful one-stop mental health complex in Lincolnton.
“Lincoln County Hospital, which is operated by Carolinas Healthcare System, has no on-site psychiatric services,” explained Jennifer Greene, center director, adding that patients were traveling as far as Gastonia or Hickory for services.
“We are working to be an alternative to the emergency room,” Greene said. “We collaborate closely with the health department, Community Care of North Carolina and Carolinas Medical Center Lincoln to provide first evaluation and open access.”
With an emergency room visit for a mental health issue, the length of stay can be 25 hours, Greene said. “The hospital is not designed for psychiatric emergencies.”
At the center, our goal is to have a new individual who is seeking services to be assessed within two hours of arrival,” Greene explained. The Lincoln Wellness Center also offers telemedicine with closed-circuit, HIPAA-compliant clinical assessments from any of the 19 Monarch sites.
“The goal was to create this well-known, safe place for individuals in need of mental health services,” explained Lyndril Leonard, Monarch’s clinical operations director. “There was a service gap in Lincoln County.”
Leonard says that the new center has worked to gain confidence of residents, long frustrated by multiple providers who have come and gone over the years.
Since its opening Dec. 18, 2014, Greene noted that the center has served 600 new people.
“The collaboration with all the providers has been a great thing,” Leonard said. “Ultimately, our goal is to meet the needs of the community and continue to make a difference.”
“We’re trying to build collaborations and bridges everywhere we can,” Greene said.
“We have a lot of people who have a hard time asking for help or knowing how to access services,” said John Hall, building manager for Christian Ministries. “We see between 40 and 50 people a day. Our one-on-one interview staff takes time to see people and find out where they are in their living situation and their mental health. They definitely make referrals to the wellness center. We’re trying to connect the dots.”
Pictured: A photo captured a little more than one year ago during the open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Lincoln Wellness Center.