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JRMC Behavioral Health Military Annex opens

Progress-Index - 11/16/2017

Nov. 16--HOPEWELL -- Military personnel, city officials and healthcare workers all came to support the opening of the new Behavioral Health Military Annex at John Randolph Medical Center on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

The unit features eight beds in private and semi-private rooms reserved for military service members and their family members who require treatment for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The annex offers a range of specialized treatment services including: intensive group, individual and family therapy; treatment for co-occurring substance use issues; and daily psychiatric care and medication management.

The center especially highlights its newest tool for PTSD recovery: Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy.

"I've been in this field for a long time, and it very quickly became very clear to me when I was up on the unit that our military personnel needed something more," said Lisa Castro, the center's behavioral health services director.

After a period of research, Castro's team found a specialized treatment offered by Dr. Edna Foa of the University of Pennsylvania -- a treatment that focuses on gradually engaging with PTSD triggers to overcome the associated fears and anxieties.

The center's own Tommy Saunders, LCSW, went to the University of Pennsylvania for training with this therapy and is currently receiving his certification in the practice.

"Our plans are to expand this (treatment) to anybody who has trauma," Castro said. "I've gotta tell you: after doing this for 15 years, there isn't a person with mental illness who doesn't have trauma."

--Kate Gibson may be reached at kgibson@progress-index.com or 804-722-5162.

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(c)2017 The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va.

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