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Help by touch

A first-of-its-kind mental health-screening tool for residents in Northampton and Gates counties was unveiled last week.

This screening kiosk comes as part of the new Access Point Screening Program from Trillium Health Resources, the behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities management authority for 24 eastern North Carolina counties.

“Many people with mental health and substance use challenges go without treatment—in part because their disorders go undiagnosed,” said Cindy Ehlers, vice president of clinical operations at Trillium. “Part of Trillium’s mission is to increase access to services and resources where they are needed most. We are proud to launch the Access Point program in Northampton County and in Gates County.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week at the Northampton County Department of Social Services in Jackson to formally open a Mental Health screening kiosk. Those taking part in the event included Assistant County Manager Nathan Pearce, County Commissioners Robert Carter and Fannie Greene, and Bland Baker of Trillium Health Resources.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week at the Northampton County Department of Social Services in Jackson to formally open a Mental Health screening kiosk. Those taking part in the event included Assistant County Manager Nathan Pearce, County Commissioners Robert Carter and Fannie Greene, and Bland Baker of Trillium Health Resources.

The Access Point Screening Program is designed to provide people with access to anonymous, evidence-based screenings for mental health and substance use challenges. This new tool will provide immediate results and connect users to resources, including treatment recommendations, local referrals and educational materials. Users may use the screenings for personal assessment, or as a tool to assess and access resources on behalf of someone else.

The local Access Point kiosks are located in the Northampton County Department of Social Services and in the main lobby of the Gates County Courthouse. Both are equipped with an online screening platform, and have a dedicated phone line (VoIP) that will connect the user to the Trillium call center if they so choose.

The kiosks are wheelchair accessible, and feature privacy filters that makes on-screen data visible only to persons directly in front of the monitor. In addition to the kiosks, the Access Point Screening Program is available online and is accessible on all mobile devices.

Bobbie Lowe, Project Coordinator for Trillium, was on hand for the ribbon cutting at the Gates County Courthouse, said the screening is anonymous and covers seven areas – depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, and alcohol/substance abuse disorders.

“The screening provides immediate feedback to the user and how they scored,” Lowe said. “The user also receives referral information to access treatment providers or use the attached phone to directly reach our health center.”

She said the screening can also be taken in the privacy of one’s home as it is available online, and is accessible on all mobile devices, at www.TrilliumNCAccessPoint.org.

“Thank you to Trillium for purchasing and providing this kiosk, we feel it will be of great benefit to the citizens of our county,” said Gates County Manager Natalie Rountree.

Bland Baker, Northern Region Director for Trillium, said the installation of kiosks in Gates and other counties is the company’s way of trying to reach out to citizens within Trillium’s broad footprint that stretches from the Virginia border to Wilmington.

“We know there’s a stigma attached to mental health, but this service allows those in need to do their own screening to see what type of struggles they may have and how to get the help they need,” said Bland. “We’re happy to put this in Gates County; it’s very important for the small, rural counties.

Bland said it had come to his attention that the Gates County kiosk had already been used six times.

“That’s great,” he remarked. “If only one person uses it and it leads them to get some help, then it’s worth every time.”

Gates County Sheriff Randy Hathaway, who also attended the ribbon cutting, said his office had, to date, referred four of the six users of the kiosk.

“One of those has already received the help they needed,” Hathaway stated. “This is a wonderful tool to help those suffering from mental health problems, to include substance abuse.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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