The Bridgeway View

Editor Cory Storch, CEO

Take one seasoned trauma-informed professional psych rehab staff, mix in a group of experienced mobile screeners, add a new location in the community with a living room model, and the result is a powerful organic change to the way we approach mental health care in New Jersey.

The living room model is a person-centered, trauma informed approach to crisis intervention. It fills the gap between having to go to the emergency room to find yourself in a chaotic environment for hours, and having to wait 4 – 6 weeks for an outpatient appointment. The living room that Bridgeway created for psychiatric emergency screening can be that place. A place to de-escalate. A place that facilitates recovery from what can be the worst day of your life. If an individual just needs to chill out, he or she can do so. In our Somerville office, there is a living room for adults and one designed for children.

As innovative as the PESS living room model is, it would not be successful without the extraordinary team who came together to move an idea from the trauma-informed drawing board, to the full implementation of services. And they not only welcome people to the living room, they provide mobile emergency screening as well.

Bridgeway’s Somerset PESS staff are mobile screeners, ready to receive a call from a local law enforcement officer, family member, or school personnel about someone in the community who needs a mental health professional to talk to now. Cory Storch, CEO, says “providing information and education to NAMI, to local police departments and to school personnel has been a foundational part of the mission of the new PESS design. Having those connections between the staff at the PESS living room and the people on the ground has been key to the tremendous success of the program.”

 Building the PESS team in Somerset County was a process that began with putting a dynamic and gifted director in place. Allison MacFadyen, MS, NCC, LPC, CPRP, had been with Bridgeway for several years, moving into roles with ever-increasing responsibility and success. Together, we developed a strategic plan for bringing over the best and brightest from the emergency screening services already in operation by the County, along with inviting highly qualified Bridgeway staff to move from other programs onto the PESS team, as well as hiring externally as needed.

Ms. MacFadyen explains “We believe that Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services should assist persons served in all stages of crisis, not just in the later, more critical stages. We have seen through our work in the living room that by working with individuals pre and post crisis we are able to link with less restrictive environments and help persons served equip themselves with the resources and skills needed to avoid a full psychiatric crisis that may result in hospitalization. The scheduling of follow ups allows the PESS staff to keep a pulse on the person served and how responsive they have been to the services. PESS can schedule up to 4 follow up visits to ensure linkage and satisfaction with services. We find that when we schedule these follow ups persons served and family members are more likely to reach out to PESS during the pre-crisis stage in the future.”

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October 12th, 2018

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