• Printer Friendly Version

Planting the Seeds of Hope

Finding Help. Funding Hope.

Community support sought for behavioral health project

When Cindy Hargrove, of Lothian, learned of her niece’s suicide, the impact rocked her world and the world of her sister, her brother-in-law and her whole family.

“In July of 2018, my niece, a beautiful, vibrant 22-yearold, took her own life,” said Hargrove. “How could we have not seen the signs? What should we have been looking for?”

In the days, weeks and years that followed, Hargrove searched for those answers and looked for a way to bring awareness to mental health challenges and the signs of distress.

Hargrove is not alone in looking for answers. As awareness of behavioral health issues has increased, so has the realization that many people have been suffering in silence for a long time.

But there is hope.

Facing a Growing Need

Recognizing a growing need for emergency and shortterm mental health care locally and in surrounding counties, CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC) embarked on a $5.2-million project to renovate its behavioral health unit in order to expand its inpatient and outpatient services.

“Serving our community in the best way possible is one of the reasons that CHMC undertook this multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to provide Calvert County and neighboring counties with care and facilities that follow best practices in mental and behavioral health,” said Vice President, Clinical Services/Chief Nursing Officer Diane Couchman.

She went on to add, “When the project is completed, we will be able to double the number of patients we can serve. This is a very exciting time for us and for the community, as well. We are proud to be able to increase services for this growing need.”

Planting the Seeds of Hope Challenge

In lieu of a formal gala this year (due to COVID-19 restrictions), the CalvertHealth Foundation Gala Committee decided to challenge the community to help raise $250,000 toward behavioral health needs. Cindy Hargrove and Mickie Frazer are co-chairing these efforts. From now through December 31, the committee is asking 250 individuals to give $1,000 to achieve their goal. M&T was one of the first supporters to the cause.

“We are proud of the physicians, providers, nurses and other healthcare professionals at CalvertHealth who care for our neighbors, friends and loved ones – especially during these difficult times,” said M&T Bank Manager Jake Womble. “We want you to know we all appreciate your compassionate, kind and careful attention to keeping your patients physically and mentally healthy.”

“The CalvertHealth Foundation has been dedicated to raising funds for our local, community hospital for 32 years. And, while 2020 has certainly been different, neither the needs of the hospital nor the passion of our committee has wavered,” said Mickie Frazer, co-chair of the Planting the Seeds of Hope fundraising challenge.

“Even before COVID-19, our committee had agreed to raise funds for CalvertHealth’s behavioral health renovation project. Now, as COVID-19 has affected many of us, we are realizing mental health is more important than ever.”

“Community support, like that of M&T Bank, will help us provide these much-needed services to our patients as they seek mental health treatment,” said Frazer.

“We are asking 250 individuals who have been impacted by mental health challenges to give to this important cause,” said Hargrove. “If we can get 250 people to give $1,000 each, we will have reached our goal.”

“Thank you in advance for supporting CalvertHealth as we work to support those in our community who need our services the most,” said Couchman.

Providing Much-Needed Care

Since 2016, CalvertHealth administrators saw an upward trend in behavioral health cases and took action. In early 2019, CHMC began work on the renovation of its behavioral health unit, which includes inpatient and outpatient facilities.

“As the sole provider of inpatient behavioral health services in Calvert County, updating the patient areas and services we offer allows us to increase emergency and short-term mental health care,” said Behavioral Health Unit Director Jennifer Messix, BSN, RN-BC. When the project is complete, it will be the largest mental health center in Southern Maryland.

During the period of January to June 2019, 11 percent of adults 18 and over, nationwide, had symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder. As the coronavirus crisis unfolded during the spring, nearly 50 percent of all Americans reported the pandemic was harming their mental health.

In Maryland, for the just the last week of July, a National Health Information Survey reported nearly 40 percent of those responding reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during that week.

The surge in behavioral health needs due to the coronavirus crisis is alarming. “The need for improved behavioral health facilities and programs has never been greater, and CalvertHealth is poised to meet the needs of our Southern Maryland community with the renovation that will expand our inpatient and outpatient services,” said Messix.

The renovation project reconfigures CalvertHealth Medical Center’s fifth floor, which houses patients of all ages, into two wings: one for adolescents 13-17 years old and one for adults over the age of 18. Both wings will have inpatient rooms, dining and social areas, consultation rooms, staff facilities, areas for outpatient use, and areas for substance abuse programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Calvert County Health Department programs. CHMC is the only hospital in Southern Maryland that offers adolescent inpatient and outpatient mental health care.

Learn More
back to top button