April 20, 2016 – When someone goes to the doctor for a broken bone or diabetes, no one thinks anything is out of the ordinary, but when that disease is a mental illness, such as depression or a drug addiction, society attaches a stigma to these very serious conditions. Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) is home to a Behavior Health Unit (BHU) that is a 10 bed adult acute psychiatric care facility. The staff provides psychiatric crisis and substance abuse evaluations through the Gila Regional Emergency Room (ER) and throughout the hospital.
"Just as with any illness or disease mental illness deserves to be cared for and treated as much as any physical ailment. We provide 24 hour psychiatric crisis or substance abuse care regardless of insurance or lack of payment sources" said Dr. Teresa Arizaga-Morales, a Psychiatrist at GRMC. "If someone needs psychiatric care, they should go to the GRMC emergency room first; we do this to make sure that they are medically stabilized first before we evaluate them."
While GRMC is not equipped for long term psychiatric care, the BHU at Gila Regional can be the first step to recovering and managing a person's mental illness or substance abuse.
"If you have a crisis, you should either call the community crisis line at 1-800-426-0997 or come to the ER. If you are unable to travel safely, call 911" said Diana Schwartz, a therapist at the GRMC BHU. "We also make sure that patients are connected to community resources before they are discharged."
One of the priorities at GRMC is the health of the Community. The BHU is just another way GRMC is trying to make the four County areas of Grant, Luna, Hidalgo and Catron County a healthier place, both mentally and physically.
Photo: (Left to right)
Jenny Shurtz, RN; Teresa Arizaga-Morales, MD and Diana Schwartz, Therapist LPCC