The former Lincoln Counseling Services center is making big changes, and all for the better.
Operated since October by Monarch, a non-profit organization, the behavioral health services offered at the 311 McBee Street in Lincolnton are cutting edge when it comes to helping Lincoln County residents get the help they need, without travelling so far from home.
One of the things that makes Monarch services unique and an asset to Lincoln County is its open access model. According to Clinical Operations Director Lyndril Barber, it offers patients the help they need when they need it without having to wait for appointments.
“Open access is a treatment model that allows individuals in the community to walk in for the very first time without having a scheduled appointment,” Barber said. “They can expect to be (taken into) the system. They will see a licensed clinician where they will receive a comprehensive clinical assessment where they are diagnosed. That’s where recommendations for other services are made. From there, they will receive a psychiatric evaluation if that’s needed and then they will be able to walk out with a prescription in their hand, if that’s medically appropriate.”
Open access allows immediate access to service, whereas with some other mental health services, patients will call for appointments and will more often than not have a waiting period before they are able to see someone. With Monarch’s model, patients are afforded the opportunity to see a counselor, clinician or psychiatrist the day they decide they need help.
The way that Monarch is able to offer this particular model is through the miracle of modern technology. Psychiatrists are on-hand at the facility three days a week, but in the event that someone wants to see one on a day when they are not available, or if there are too many patients, Monarch employs what they refer to as telepsychiatry. If there is not a doctor on-site on a particular day, patients can meet with a doctor via secure internet connection. Monarch has access to doctors in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
In addition to the open access plan, Monarch has several different services to aid the community in mental and behavioral health needs. One is the Community Support Team, for adults 18 and older. The team consists of a therapist, and other qualified professionals, including a case manager. Their main focus is skill building and counselling. The Assertive Community Team, or ACT, is available for at-risk community members 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
“That’s for individuals who fall into that severe and persistent mentally ill population,” Barber said. “I like to describe it as a hospital without walls.”
For the younger members of the community, Monarch offers Intensive In-home services. This three-member team is helmed by a licensed clinician and a behaviorist and offers a skill building component as well. The service is for ages 3-20.
The most important aspect of Monarch’s services is that they are local. Nestled in the downtown Lincolnton area, the outpatient psychiatric capabilities and multiple service lines are aimed at making Lincoln County healthy and happy in every way.
“With us being a new provider in this area, it is important for us to establish trust with individuals in the community,” Barber said. “We want them to know we are here, that we are a place they can trust and to come and have their needs met.”
The building at 311 McBee Street is currently being renovated in an effort to provide a friendly environment that is welcoming to anyone that comes in for Monarch services. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and after hours emergency needs can be accessed through the main number at (704) 748-6133.