by Stephanie R. Simon, LCSW, NCPsyA, CCS, DRCC
Stephanie (center) surrounded by her team at BCIS The Living Room at BCIS
During the time I have been fortunate enough to be the Director of Bridgeway Crisis Intervention Services (BCIS), located in Jersey City, I have been humbled by the significant progress individuals have been able to make in such a short period of time at BCIS. Having spent close to 30 years working in hospitals, I was excited at the chance to come to Bridgeway and to start a Crisis Program in Hudson County whose goal was to keep individuals out of the hospital and in the community. The Urgent Care model as applied to mental health crises intrigued me, and when our doors officially opened for business on February 21st 2014, I was eager to see how our services would be utilized. I was also wondering how people would benefit from brief crisis intervention services lasting no more than 30 days. Over 3 years later, I have my answer. One of the things that I always say to the BCIS staff is that no one just “winds up” in a Crisis Center. By the time people walk through our front door, they are often in a state of despair, and don’t know where to start in putting the pieces of their lives back together again. That is where BCIS comes in. Starting with the Living Room, which is the centerpiece of all Urgent Care Crisis Centers, individuals are ensconced in a warm and welcoming environment that practically speaking functions as a Waiting Room but more importantly is a place to begin the process of self- healing. The feeling evoked by the physical structure of our actual Living Room is embodied by all of our staff, and individuals who are in our office benefit continuously from warm and stabilizing interactions with every staff member whom they come into contact with. This starts with the front desk, from the moment someone either calls or walks through the door- and extends to meetings with Licensed Clinicians, Prescribers, and Wellness Specialists. Many individuals whom we see have experienced significant trauma, and one of the challenges of a short-term Crisis Program is to develop a relationship that allows the individual to attach enough to start dealing with this trauma- and at the same time to help them to let go and move on so they can attach elsewhere. I often say that our job is to “plant the seed” of what getting help and being well can look like, and give someone enough of a positive experience with this that they will want to continue. For people who do not want to continue with follow up, and do not need to continue, our job is to deal with the here and now, and to help someone walk out the door having gotten what they need- not only the help they need from other people, but also a sense of being able to help themselves through the strengthening of inner resources. We see people who have no mental health history and who have never sought services before; people with extensive mental health histories and multiple hospitalizations; and everyone in between. Bridgeway Crisis Intervention Services is a remarkable program, and we have served thousands of individuals in Hudson County since opening our doors- but in the end, it is the relationship that a person is able to form, both with a helping person and with themselves, that leads to healing.
Bridgeway Crisis Intervention Services, 152 Central Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306
Call: (201) 885-2539
admin October 15th, 2017
Posted In: Uncategorized