LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Equity Task Force, in partnership with the Housing Authority of St. Mary’s County, Maryland (HASMC), is pleased to announce plans for a future Behavioral Health Hub for St. Mary’s County. The 6,200 square-foot, former PNC Bank branch located on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park, was donated by PNC Bank to HASMC with the intent it would be used as a community Behavioral Health Hub by St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) and St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office (SMCSO).
Included among a wide range of services to be provided on-site are COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for frontline and essential workers and community members, particularly those residents who are older or with chronic health conditions. The launch of the facility helps to ensure easier accessibility to critical health services in the community, particularly for an area challenged by significant health disparities.
“Now, more than ever, access to health care is vital as we face challenges during the pandemic,” said Laura Gamble, PNC regional president for Greater Maryland. “PNC is committed to strengthening and serving the communities where we have a local presence, and supporting the Behavioral Health Hub is one example of this commitment coming to life – in this case, to help families and individuals who need access to health care.”
In addition to the immediate response role of testing and vaccination, the Behavioral Health Hub ultimately will assist with addressing the rise in acute behavioral health concerns associated with the general COVID-19 climate. This impact spans increased stress, anxiety, depression, social separation and loss of loved ones. It also will serve as a needed primary care access point by engaging community partners who will connect residents to other key services addressing equity and the social determinates of health.
“The local leadership team at PNC Bank deserves special recognition in understanding our community’s common needs and achieving positive, collaborative action to their solutions,” said Dennis Nicholson, Executive Director, HASMC.
Future services available through the Behavioral Health Hub will include behavioral health screening and crisis stabilization services, jail diversion programs to focus on substance use treatment and recovery, primary care medical services including preventive care, health education, and diagnosis/treatment. The Behavioral Health Hub also will act as a link to community support services and coaching for financial well-being, as well as assistance with setting and achieving educational and occupational goals.
“We are very grateful for PNC Bank’s generosity in supporting our community during these incredibly challenging pandemic times,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “The facility will be immediately used as part of our local COVID-19 public health response. We also look forward to its future in addressing another pressing public health and health equity issue for our community – behavioral health, including better mental health and drug use prevention and recovery support for our community members.”
“This Behavioral Health Hub will be located immediately next door to our District 4 Station on Great Mills Road, which opened last year, adding yet another level of professional services to the Lexington Park community,” said Sheriff Tim Cameron.
“St. Mary’s County Public Schools looks forward to partnering with the Sheriff’s Office and the St. Mary’s County Health Department to best serve our community and help meet their educational needs,” said Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools.