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Lehigh County, KidsPeace Partner Up to Support Walk-In Mental Health Assessments | WDIY Local News

The KidsPeace Broadway Campus office.
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The KidsPeace Broadway Campus office.

Lehigh County has entered into a new partnership to improve access to mental health care services for residents. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

Lehigh County said Thursday that it has partnered with KidsPeace to support the organization’s free walk-in mental health assessment program.

The service is offered at Kidspeace’s Lehigh County clinics on Green Street in Allentown and its Broadway Campus in Fountain Hill.

According to a release, through the program families can have a child or adult assessed by a clinical professional free of charge, and without an appointment. They can receive a safety screening, risk assessment and a safety plan, along with recommendations for further care.

Chris Ferry, KidsPeace Executive Director of PA Community Programs, said in the release that the free assessments have been provided by the organization as a community service, without regard to a person’s ability to pay or their insurance status.

Ferry said the walk-in assessment program costs upwards of $40,000 per year for the two clinics.

Under the partnership, Lehigh County will now reimburse the cost of assessments provided to its residents.

The county will also fund a new case manager for the program, who will help families get the recommended programs after their assessment is complete.

Lehigh County will also provide funding for telehealth services, which will be available for county residents assessed under the program who are on extended waitlists for specific follow-up care.

The walk-in assessment program was established in 2013, and has helped nearly 6,000 families, children and adults find care for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

The release said the program is also diverting those cases from traditional hospital emergency departments.

Joshua Bridges, Lehigh County Administrator for Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities, Early Intervention Services, and Drug & Alcohol, said the enhanced walk-in assessment program was a vital part of the community’s response to mental and behavioral health needs.

In a statement, he noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased number of cases of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues among children. Bridges also said it may be difficult for many parents to find their way through available program options.

The full clinic addresses and information are below:

Green Street Clinic 
801 E. Green St.
Allentown, PA 18109

Family Center at Broadway Campus
1620 Broadway
Bethlehem, PA 18015

(Original air-date: 2/3/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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