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North Spring Opens Inpatient Acute Care Center For Youth

© Leesburg Today - 08/27/2015

Starting tomorrow, area youth experiencing dangerous psychiatric disorders will have a new place-one close to home-to get help.

The staff at North Spring Behavioral Healthcare this morning celebrated the opening of a 15-bed inpatient acute care hospital on its campus just north of Leesburg. The facility is expected to welcome its first patients on Friday.

That is good news for area parents dealing with children found to be a danger to themselves or others. There is a shortage of treatment options in the region. The only Northern Virginia center for adolescent inpatient acute-care treatment is HCA's Dominion Hospital in Falls Church. Frequently, patients are sent to treatment centers in Richmond, Petersburg or Staunton where bed space is available.

The $4 million facility is an expansion of North Spring's 87-bed residential treatment center for adolescents age 9-17. The new service is geared toward patients age 7-17. North Spring CEO David Winters said his team expects to treat 500 children and teens during the center's first year of operation. North Spring has state approval to add 25 more acute care beds on the campus in the future.

Several elected representatives were on hand to celebrate the ribbon cutting.

County Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large), state Sen. Richard H. Black (R13) and U.S. Rep. Barbara J. Comstock (R-VA-10) were among the speakers, and Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10) and Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman also were in attendance.

Black highlighted the work being done at the state level to improve access to mental health care following the 2013 incident in which state Sen. Creigh Deeds was attacked and badly injured by his son after authorities were unable find room for him in a mental health treatment center.

One change in state law made in response to that case was to extend the validity of emergency mental health detention orders from six hours to 24 hours, providing more time to move patients into treatment centers, Black said. Minchew noted that the database of mental health beds now allows authorities to know where space is available, something that would have helped in the Deeds case.

Deeds' son, Gus, was 25 years old, so he wouldn't have been served by the new Leesburg center. But Black said it was important to expand such institutional offerings, and he cited the book and movie ""One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"" as contributing to a reduction in the number of treatment centers starting in the 1960s.

Comstock said the opening of the new center was the result of community collaboration. ""This is how we make Loudoun County the number one community to live in,"" she said.

The new center employs 30 people, including psychiatrists, registered nurses, therapists, social workers and mental health specialists. The goal of the program is to help patients develop the skills needed to return to their families and communities better able to function and cope the life's stress.

North Spring is located at 42009 Victory Lane off Rt. 15 just north of the Leesburg town limits. The 24-hour phone number is 703-840-1800. To find out more about the center, go to northspringleesburg.com.

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