News & Press Releases

Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health as They Return to School During the Covid-19 Crisis.

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UNIONTOWN, Pa., Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services, (CRCSI) one of the larger providers of mental health services in Western Pennsylvania, is ready to help your child go back to school with less anxiety during the Covid-19 crisis. Children of all ages are seen at CRCSI by our therapists and/or Child and Adolescent psychiatrists either via tele-therapy or in person.   New Directions school (a program at CRCSI) is an option for children suffering with moderate to severe mental health issues.  It is the only licensed Private Academic School and Partial Hospitalization mental health treatment program in Fayette County, PA.  For more information on New Directions please visit or call 724-434-1014 and ask for Michelle DeMoss, Program Manager.

Dr. Eleni Maneta, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Medical Director at CRCSI’s New Directions school reports that, “children with pre-existing mental health conditions, may struggle more with returning to school during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  For those children, a therapeutic school like New Directions may be a better option.”  Dr. Maneta also added, “New Directions is a year-round, highly structured, therapeutic program that provides a unique combination of specialized mental health treatment and comprehensive educational services.  In this setting, children can receive all the necessary support to start their recovery process, while at the same time completing their education.”

According to Dr. Padmaja Chilakapati, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at CRCSI, “Children may feel nervous or scared to return to school.  You can help them feel at ease by going over some of the changes they may expect at school such as needing to wear masks for protection from their friends’ coughs, maintaining distance from each other  and washing hands frequently or sanitizing hands prior to touching their faces. Reassure your child about the safety measures that are in place to keep them and their teachers safe.”  Dr. Chilakapati also suggests that parents should approach all conversations with calmness and empathy, stating that you know that your child is feeling anxious about the corona virus, encourage them to talk about their anxieties that it’s healthy to talk about what worries them and how they feel about it.

With a staff of 7 Psychiatrists, Certified Nurse Practitioners and therapists, Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services has been the primary provider of mental healthcare for the past 55 years in Fayette County.  Staff takes to heart the motto “We treat each person as if they are family“.

SOURCE Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services

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$25,000 Staunton Farm Foundation Grant to Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services Improves the Lives of Fayette County, PA Residents

UNIONTOWN, PA, May 14, 2019:  Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services Inc. (CRCSI), one of the larger providers of mental health treatment and support in Western Pennsylvania, will be utilizing a $25,000 grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation to implement three quality of care initiatives that will enable the agency to provide evidenced based practices which will be evaluated and enhanced upon using proven tools to measure outcomes.  Through the implementation of the National Zero Suicide Toolkit, the operationalizing of a dedicated line for a partnership with National Suicide Prevention Lifeline calls, and the addition of the DLA-20 as an agency wide assessment tool, the agency will be on the cutting edge of reliable measuring and reporting of outcome measures as well as implementing some new evidenced based practices, making treatment more effective and recovery specific. The improvements in clinical quality of care using evidenced based suicide care training for staff will be measureable and reportable, enabling CRCSI to continuously monitor and improve suicide prevention efforts and successes.

According to the Kennedy Forum’s “Fixing Behavioral Healthcare in America”, patients with mental health and substance use disorders (MH/SUD) treated in routine care experience worse outcomes than patients enrolled in clinical trials that have demonstrated the  effectiveness of evidence-based treatments. This large gap between routine outcomes and optimal outcomes exists across a wide range of patient populations and treatment settings, including primary care and specialty behavioral health.

One of the main contributors to poor outcomes in routine care is that providers do not typically use symptom rating scales in a systematic way to determine quantitatively whether their patients are improving. The primary benefit of measurement-based care is improved clinical outcomes for each individual patient. An indirect benefit of measurement-based care is that patient level outcomes can be aggregated across providers, clinics and healthcare systems to inform quality improvement activities, and reported to payers in order to demonstrate the value of the behavioral health services being delivered. Yet, only 18% of psychiatrists and 11% of psychologists in the U.S. routinely administer symptom rating scales to monitor treatment response.

Similarly, the assessment of suicidal risk through the use of standardized scales can promote suicide prevention and over the course of time, can promote improvement in clinical care and outcome measures. The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention indicates that individuals at high risk for suicide require clinical evaluation and care to identify and treat mental health and medical conditions, and to specifically address suicide risk. In the past, it was believed that appropriately treating underlying conditions (e.g., mood disorders, substance abuse) would remove the risk for suicide. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that suicide prevention is enhanced when specific treatments for underlying conditions are combined with strategies that directly address suicide risk. In recent years, a small number of health care and community support systems that provide health care services to defined populations (also referred to as “boundaried” systems) have adopted a “zero suicides” goal for the population under their care. Within these types of health care systems, the goal of eliminating suicide can help set into place system-wide changes that enhance service access and quality through continuous improvement. Managing a system of care to achieve the goal of zero suicides requires organizations to evaluate performance rigorously and use adverse events as opportunities to improve their capacity to save lives.

Finally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reports that from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18, 263 nonveteran Fayette County calls were received by the Lifeline.   Currently, those local calls are going to the National Lifeline are being answered by counselors who are not local, and who do not know the local services as well as CRCSI staff.  While the Lifeline provides training and rigorous standards of care, the individual crisis centers who are part of their network can offer callers local crisis counseling and referrals which can be more effective in getting people into services they need.

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Mental Health Urgent Care Offered At Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services

NIONTOWN, Pa., April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services,(CRCSI) one of the larger providers of mental health services in Western Pennsylvania, is OPEN and seeing clients either via tele-therapy or in person during this time of crisis.   The mental health urgent care, Open Access, is available for individuals seeking immediate help.  Staff can offer an immediate Open Access assessment at the Uniontown office or coordinate an assessment utilizing video conferencing on a cell phone or home computer by calling 724-437-0729.  

According to Michael Quinn, CEO of CRCSI, “When the governor’s office started reporting the spread of the coronavirus in March, we knew we had to move our services online to tele-therapy and tele-psychiatry visits.  Our IT team jumped into action to get us up and running in a time frame that was nothing short of amazing.  We have online videos providing instruction for our clients to access prior to their tele-therapy appointments.  They can also speak directly to our IT team who will assist them with set up.” 

Per Ronald Lobo, MD, Psychiatrist and Medical Director of CRCSI, “If our patients are feeling ill or unsure of attending an office visit, therapy and medication services are still available by tele-health. From children to adult, we now offer therapy visits via a secure online platform.  We plan to continue our much needed services in the safest and most professional manner.  Our goal is simple, offer immediate and effective help to those in need of mental health support during this crisis and beyond.”

Chestnut Ridge Counseling Service’s Crisis Team answers the Crisis Hotline at 724-437-1003, 24/7 and provides crisis intervention care in the community. This dedicated team is the first response for mental health emergencies in Fayette and surrounding counties of western Pennsylvania.  They work closely with local authorities, hospitals and EMTs to provide the best care possible to those in a mental health emergency.  

With a staff of 7 Psychiatrists, Certified Nurse Practitioners and therapists, Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services has been the primary provider of mental healthcare for the past 55 years in Fayette County.  CRCSI offers over 20 specialized treatment programs to help individuals address problem behaviors, improve coping and functioning skills and develop positive approaches to life. Staff takes to heart the motto “We treat each person as if they are family“.

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