Finding the right mental health service can be confusing. The Lorain County Board of Mental Health (LCBMH) now offers a resource to help residents connect to the right non-crisis mental health service without hassle: the Lorain County Navigator, available by calling 440.240.7025.
A resident of Lorain County might know or suspect that they need to find help to feel better, but may have questions about how to locate affordable, accessible services that match their mental health concern.
“Our goal is to help people connect to the right service, the first time, as efficiently as possible,” says Charles Neff, LCBMH Executive Director.
He and his clinical team worked with El Centro to create a central phone number, 440.240.7025, staffed by a Navigator who can help any Lorain County caller who speaks English or Spanish find the resources they need in the mental health network, and help solve payment, transportation, or language barriers to service.
Thelma Cruz, a licensed social worker, currently serves as the Navigator for the Lorain County Board of Mental Health, and as the Community and Health Coordinator for El Centro.
A resident who needs services, or the parent or guardian of a potential client, can call Cruz at 440.240.7025 and provide general information about mental health concerns. In a three-way phone call, Cruz will connect the caller with the agency that is clinically appropriate and has the shortest wait. Cruz will remain on the line until she is certain that there are no obstacles that could interfere with the potential client getting connected to the right agency.
In a past role, Cruz provided bilingual intensive home-based mental health therapy to children and adults in Lorain County. She knows both the mental health system and the realities of family life very well.
“People in our community need assistance dealing with the difficulties of our daily lives, as well as with working through difficult and unexpected circumstances. It can be challenging to navigate the mental health system when there are language barriers, or finance or transportation needs. That is why I am so excited about my new role as Navigator, providing an opportunity for any Lorain County resident to call and get connected to the mental health services they need,” Cruz says.
A centralized referral number can streamline the process of connecting to services, and help callers address interpretation or transportation needs before their first clinical appointment. The Navigator also can help troubleshoot health coverage or financial concerns, though, in Lorain County, no family or individual will be turned away from necessary mental health services due to an inability to pay.
LCBMH is the local public agency that plans, funds, monitors, and evaluates a system of services for residents with mental illness in Lorain County.