As a new support for individuals and families in Kent County impacted by the effects of mental health and substance use issues, the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health opened the Kent County Bridge on the third floor of the James W. Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover.

The Kent County clinic joins similar clinics in New Castle and Sussex counties.

The Kent County Bridge Clinic, open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, is available to all Delaware residents. The clinic is also piloting the use of nurse practitioners to help explore the integration of physical and behavioral health care. The services available at all three clinics, which do not require an appointment or health insurance, include substance use disorder and mental health screenings; referrals to treatment; evaluations conducted by onsite qualified, licensed clinicians; a navigational peer who can connect individuals with support services within the care network; training for administering naloxone, an overdose-reversal medication; and transportation to and from the facility may be available. All services made available regardless of ability to pay.

“In opening this Kent County Bridge Clinic, we are providing rapid access to qualified clinicians now in all three counties,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “Our clinic staff can help individuals and their families understand what type of treatment is needed for loved ones and how to engage with the treatment system. For Delaware families who might be overwhelmed simply trying to figure out where to begin, the Bridge Clinics provide that in-person starting point.”

Walker said having Bridge Clinics in all three counties helps to engage high-risk populations in treatment, one of four main recommendations from a team of researchers and clinicians at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In April 2017, Walker asked Johns Hopkins to conduct a review of Delaware’s addiction treatment system. In July 2018, the Johns Hopkins team issued a 33-page report that proposed four main strategies: increase the capacity of the treatment system; engage high-risk populations in treatment; create incentives for quality care; and use data to guide reform and monitor progress.

“The opening of the Bridge Clinic in Kent County is a milestone achievement for behavioral health care in Delaware and an additional step forward in transforming our treatment system under the START Initiative,” said DSAMH Director Elizabeth Romero. “Bringing three brand-new clinics online in under nine months is a testament to the hard work of our staff and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts. These Bridge Clinics fill a crucial need in our system and will continue to be an essential part of the services that we provide for years to come.”

The Sussex County Bridge Clinic, located at the Thurman Adams State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown, is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; call 515-3310.

The New Castle County Bridge Clinic, located at 14 Central Ave., New Castle, is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; call 255-16503.

For more, call 857-5060 or visit helpisherede.com.