Mental health services inside the emergency room

Bob Hoyt is the master of DIY projects. But what many people consider a hobby, he sees as an essential part of his recovery from addiction.

“To find a routine and things to look forward to and a goal to reach and finish and finish, you know, have a goal and finish it and work through to the end like something new, like something I don’t didn’t do before recovery,” says Hoyt, a certified peer recovery advocate.

Hoyt has been in recovery for seven years and now works for Twin County Recovery Services, helping others recover from addiction. It is part of a new initiative between Twin County and Columbia Memorial Health.


What do you want to know

  • Columbia Memorial Health now has a certified peer recovery advocate stationed inside its emergency department
  • It reduces the response time to get mental health services for someone
  • It will also remove some of the existing barriers to asking for help.

Previously, if someone came to the ER looking for recovery help, someone from Twin County had to come to the hospital. But now Hoyt is already here. He is stationed inside the emergency department as a certified peer recovery advocate.

Funding for the program was obtained through the Capital Behavioral Health Network’s Coordinated Opioid and Stimulant Treatment Program.

“Some of our friends, our patients, our people, come and it’s probably the worst day of their lives to be able to meet someone who has a substance use disorder. I share a lot of stories related to the subject and the feelings,” Hoyt said.

He said reducing that response time can save lives.

“We have a small window of time before someone changes their mind or feels uncomfortable,” Hoyt said.

Many barriers can prevent you from seeking help. The person may not want traditional hospital treatment, they may be worried about the cost, or they may just not know where to start.

“It’s not always common knowledge, is it? And who does someone turn to when looking for help? You know, they’d think you were in the hospital. To correct. You know, so that’s part of why it works, why it’s a great partnership,” Hoyt said.

Every person is different, so every recovery plan is different.

“So it could be drug-assisted treatment. Detox. Detox. Connecting with outpatient services, mutual support groups that are in the community,” Hoyt said.

If someone is not ready to commit to treatment, Hoyt provides them with the information they will need when they are.

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