Mental health team formed for elderly

By Chase Jordan - [email protected]

A team of health professionals are looking forward to helping the community deal with senior citizens and mental health matters.

Therapeutic Alternatives, Inc. recently announced a collaboration project with Eastpointe to provide Geriatric Adult Mental Health Specialty Team (GAST) services in Sampson County and other counties nearby.

Jerra Roberts, Therapeutic Alternatives, Inc. GAST program director, is excited about working with Eastpointe and providing service. She added that some of the work involves dealing depression, anxiety, suicide, learning how to solve a crisis situation and improving communication skills.

“The amount of adult who are living in the community with these type of issues, is on the rise,” Roberts said. “Many times these issues and people’s lack of understanding of the mental health issues lead to more problems in everyday life.”

Therapeutic Alternatives operates teams throughout the state and provides GAST services in 45 counties through contracts with managed care organizations. Each team includes a registered nurse, master level clinician and mental health professionals.

In the Eastpointe service area, three teams will work with patients in the area. One of them will work with residents in Sampson, Wayne, Lenoir and Duplin counties. The other teams will serve Bladen, Columbus, Edgecombe, Greene, Robeson, Scotland and Wilson counties.

The teams are geared towards adults over the age of 60 that have mental health disorders. Roberts said the primary focus is helping people living in the area and helping community agencies through training. Some of the examples include home care, veteran services, social services, faith-based organizations, the judicial system and law enforcement. The training provided by GAST staff are free of charge to facilities and community agencies. Certificates of attendance for continuing education is provided.

Through education, Roberts added that one of the goals is to help defuse crisis situations involving mental health.

“It’s very important that this program is in place,” she said. “We’re very excited to be in this area and to have an opportunity from the Eastpointe MCO to provide these services. We hope that we can do a good job for the counties.”

Therapeutic Alternatives, Inc. provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and addictive diseases. It also includes mobile crisis management, hospital transition, residential, day programs and rehabilitation programs.

The organization is recruiting for clinicians for it’s Eastpointe GAST team. Additional information is available online at Roberts may also be reached at 336-495-2747 or through email at [email protected]

By Chase Jordan

[email protected]

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.