Virginia’s Making Big Strides for Mental Health


On Monday, the 18th of March, Virginia completed a bill put in action by previous Gov. Terry McAuliffe to make all Community Health Services provide same day access for mental health. There are 40 locations in total that are publicly funded and offer this same day service for adults and children alike. If that doesn’t sound amazing enough, they all include an automatic check in system eliminating the need to have to explain why you are at the clinic. The goal is to make mental healthcare much easier to access and to eliminate the stigma.

Virginia’s stride forward in mental health is astounding considering how it was a few years ago and how it still is in many states today. The new mental health system accepts children as low as 3 years old to come and receive services. One of the centers, The New Merrifield Center, is reporting that the whole process is only taking an average of around 3 hours for a person to get the help they need. Reports of upwards of 50 adults and 16 children have been going to the centers per day to receive help.

Considering the broken healthcare system in general, the fact that there is a state focusing on mental health care as a completely normal aspect of care is astounding. When my troubles with mental health led me to start going to the emergency room around 2010, my experience was nothing like this. My mom and I explained my severe anxiety and how it was making me throw up each night before I went to bed. The doctor on shift simply gave me a bottle of over 30 plus Xanax and said to follow up with primary care.

What would my experience would have been like if I was able to go to a clinic in Virginia, with the situation above? I hope that I would leave knowing more about my mental health and feeling less scared about my experience. Maybe it would have even changed the entire course of my life in dealing with mental health matters. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have had to go on to the 4 in-patient units that I did. While this is such a new thing, it is a very positive step in immediately helping people and removing the stigma from the entire issue. It makes me glad to think that someone like me, is possibly being prevented right now from a long and arduous journey just by getting immediate help.

There seems to be a shift in the way health care is including mental health services. For so long, it was pushed off to the side and highly stigmatized. As each and every person continue to share their stories and states choose to implement similar processes, mental health care will lose a large part of it’s stigma. That is what is happening in Virginia and some other states at least. Virginia is not the only one to have included these walk in mental health clinics. In fact, Minnesota, has three clinics of a similar kind open since 1969 to provide easily accessible, free services, and therapy for the citizens of Minnesota. It just goes to show that change may be slow, but it is happening.

Thank you for reading today’s post! What do you think of what Virginia is doing regarding mental healthcare? Please subscribe for more great content. Have a good day my Un-imaginables and I will see you next time!

Immediate Clinic,
New Woodbridge Official Site of Supervisor Frank Principi,
SANCHEZ/ABC7, VICTORIA. “Walk-in Mental Health Services Now Available in Virginia.” WJLA,
Original Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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