For those of you that don't know, the Fairfax Falls Chruch Community Services Board (CSB) is an integrated mental health services provider that can be used by residents of the County. For individuals, friends, and family suffering from mental illness or having someone close to them suffering from mental illness, you should know that the CSB is a great resource to try to get help.
The CSB also provides great information for Fairfax agencies to help with the overwhelming of mental health problems throughout the community. Those include things like the following:
- Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement
Through this program, the CSB helps to train law enforcement officers in learning how to deal with individuals suffering from severe mental illness episodes. Through this training, LEOs learn about mental illness, and how strategies to help when mental health crises are encoutered out on the field. While this training is not yet mandatory for all law enforcement officers, CSB is making efforts to spread the knowledge. This is certainly training of the future, and we should all put efforts in to helping the CSB obtain funding and resources to further expand this program, which is vital to help ending the concern that we have with mental illness as it relates to our criminal justice system.
- Virtual assessment.
In order to facilitate CSB's role in determining whether or not an individual suffering from mental illness should be detained, the CSB is using the newest technology to help making their decisions. When somebody is at a local hospital, CSB is rolling out technology to allow their providers to make a video assessment with that individual not needing to be present. This facilitates decisions, and helps with individual care. As virtual medicine becomes more integrated into our health care system, CSB is making efforts to lead the way.
- Integrated care.
Through CSB's facility in Merrifield (and satellite locations), they are making efforts to try to integrate care by having multilevel and interdisciplinary approach to individual health care needs. With efforts such as dual diagnosis analysis, when an individual can have both a drug and mental health assistant, CSB is making efforts to integrate care through multiple providers while facilitating the ease on the individual through decreasing the need for multiple assessments. While this area has much room for growth, CSB is making efforts and thinking long term about how this could be used. In its facility, in addition to having multiple areas of care, things like having a local pharmacy to help the needs of the individuals is just another approach that they're making.
- Working with 911 operators.
At the heart of many mental health crises, often times individuals reach out by calling 911. The CSB is making efforts to help coordinate with 911 callers to help educate them and train them in dealing with individuals undergoing mental crises. This includes giving them training about how to deal with mental health issues, but also encouraging them, when possible, to send CIT trained law enforcement when somebody is suffering from a mental illness condition. Indeed its efforts like this
that helps march the slow progress forward when it comes to helping care for individuals suffering from mental illness.
- Diversion First.
A relatively new program, CSB rolled out help to directly avoid having individuals with mental health issues incarcerated. Through Diversion First, law enforcement officers in Fairfax County now have an option when interacting with somebody undergoing a mental health crisis. The CSB offers Diversion First which allows the law enforcement officer to bring them to CSB for care rather than having them incarcerated. This is a great effort and a great step forward, but again we need to work further to provide more resources so that they can expand this program and again help divert individuals suffering from mental illness from our criminal justice system to our mental health care system.
These are just a few efforts being made by the CSB, and they should be applauded in their effors. We also want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to get the word out about the great services they provide and help to try to get them more resources. For more information check out their website here.