It has often been said that it “takes a village” to solve some of the greatest challenges facing any community. On the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, the responsibility of managing and closing gaps in crisis care for individuals experiencing behavioral health issues just received a huge boost. 

On Thursday, Aug. 4, TidalHealth cut the ribbon and officially opened the TidalHealth Crisis Center at 200 E. Vine St., Salisbury. 

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the TidalHealth Crisis Center are, from left, Steve Leonard, president/CEO of TidalHealth; Julius Zant, MD, chairperson, TidalHealth Peninsula Regional board of directors; Tim Feist, vice president, Ambulatory Services/Corporate Compliance officer; Ingrid Orinda, MD, psychiatrist, TidalHealth Crisis Center and Stacey Walker, clinical manager, TidalHealth Behavioral Health Crisis Services.

The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant program approved five years of funding at just over $11 million. 

“The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission is grateful to be able to support this important expansion of crisis services on the Eastern Shore through the commission’s regional partnership program. We are impressed by the hard work of Tidal Health, alongside its community partners to open and operate this center, which will serve as a critical resource for Marylanders in the area,” said Katie Wunderlich, executive director, Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission.

The TidalHealth Crisis Center is an extension of TRIBE, the Tri-County Behavioral Health Engagement, a collaboration formed in 2021 through a regional partnership between TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, Atlantic General Hospital and 11 behavioral health community partner agencies. Their immediate goal, which has now been met with the primary site open in Salisbury and the satellite location operational in Berlin, was to design behavioral health crisis stabilization centers, or behavioral health urgent care centers. 

The two crisis centers essentially serve as behavioral health urgent care centers where individuals can receive crisis respite, observation and intervention in a homelike community setting. 

Previously, individuals who needed emergent behavioral health care either waited for an appointment with a community agency provider or went to their hospital’s local emergency room; neither of these scenarios is ideal. 

At both crisis stabilization centers, a warm and seamless handoff for follow-up care and services with community providers will be arranged the day a person arrives or on the following day. Those community provider partners include Lower Shore Clinic, Resource Recovery Center, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Sante Mobile Crisis, Life Crisis Center, Chesapeake Health Services, MD Coalition of Families, CIT/CRT Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy and the health departments of Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

While TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and Atlantic General Hospital are the lead agencies for this endeavor, the 11 identified community agencies are integral to its success, which in turn could result in additional partners in following years. 

At both locations, behavioral health care providers seek to relieve immediate crisis symptoms, provide observation, determine levels of care and deflect from unnecessary higher levels of care, like hospital admission. Individuals will be triaged, linked with peer support, and offered brief crisis counseling, medication management services to include psychiatric and substance abuse as appropriate, care navigation and coordination of health needs.

To learn more about the services offered by the behavioral health community health partner agencies, call Clinical Manager Stacey Walker, MSW, LCSW-C, at 410-912-5887. She may also be reached by email at st***********@ti*********.org.