Section: News

St. Joseph Hospital pilot program assists patients with mental health issues


St. Joseph Hospital recently launched a new pilot program designed to provide assistance to patients with mental health needs and the staff, family and community providers that care for them.

The Behavioral Assessment Response Team, or BART, provides mental health services to patients during their hospital stay, including mental health screenings, mental health assessments and suicide assessments. BART also provides consultation services for families, hospital and community providers to coordinate patient care while at the hospital and after discharge.

The BART program has been in the works since 2007 when Pat Waldron, St. Joseph Hospital’s Medical-Surgical and Pediatrics departments director, spearheaded the program with Sister Joleen Todd. Their goal was to build a program that would provide patients in the Emergency Department and other hospital units with mental health support and resources as part of St. Joseph Health’s vision of creating Healthiest Communities.

The Healthiest Communities philosophy is an initiative in which St. Joseph Hospital works with local partners like schools, businesses and community groups to address the needs of the community. By working together not just with other health care providers but with community partners, the hospital is able to have a more profound and lasting impact on the community.

BART fits into the goal of creating Healthiest Communities by serving as a resource for those with mental health needs.

"BART strives to provide essential services, support and service coordination for Humboldt County residents with mental health needs," said Yvette Rybolt, program coordinator. "We continue to work with our community partners to further develop a seamless network of care."

Rybolt, who has a doctorate in psychology, has served as the BART coordinator since last fall, when planning for the delivery of mental health services through BART began. Patient services provided by BART psychiatric nurse Caroline Haug started at the hospital in July 2008. BART is funded by a grant from the St. Joseph Budget Philosophy Initiative and by funds awarded by the Union Labor Health Foundation.

For more information about BART services, contact program coordinator Yvette Rybolt at 707-445-8121, ext. 5910.

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