ECU partners with agencies to deliver mental health services
Dr. Sy Saeed
(July 13, 2009)
Psychiatric services in 13 eastern North Carolina counties will get a boost thanks to a new collaborative effort involving East Carolina University, two local mental health organizations and the state Division of Mental Health.
Working with East Carolina Behavioral Health in New Bern and the Beacon Center in Rocky Mount, ECU’s Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine will staff three full-time psychiatry positions through face-to-face interactions with patients and telemedicine interactions.
The services will be offered in Northampton, Gates, Hertford, Bertie, Edgecombe, Nash, Wilson, Pitt, Greene, Beaufort, Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties starting Aug. 1.
"We believe this project helps us get on the right track for increasing access and availability of quality psychiatric care to underserved and unserved populations while also enhancing regional and local mechanisms to address the pressing shortage of psychiatrists," said Dr. Sy Saeed, department chair.
Saeed said the state’s population is growing faster than the state’s supply of psychiatrists, setting the stage for an emerging shortage. In addition, he said, the lack of psychiatrists in certain counties means people might not have access to the mental health care services they need, the lack of child psychiatrists statewide has reached a critical stage, and in some counties a shortage of psychiatrists and primary care providers exists, leaving people with mental disorders undiagnosed or untreated.
"The partnership with ECU will create a walk-in crisis psychiatric network, which will increase the access and availability of quality psychiatric care to currently underserved areas of eastern North Carolina," said Roy P. Wilson, chief executive officer of East Carolina Behavioral Health. "We believe the network is a step in right direction and will become the model program for addressing the shortage of psychiatrists in North Carolina."