Henrico dedicates Mental Health & Developmental Services East Center

Facility on Nine Mile Road offers more space and an efficient, ‘trauma-informed’ design

Henrico officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the opening of the Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services (MHDS) East Center, a facility designed to offer a range of mental health, substance abuse, early intervention and same-day access services to residents in a three-county area.

Henrico officials marked the opening of Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services’ (MHDS) East Center in a June 27 ceremony. Cutting the ribbon, from left, are Laura Totty, MHDS executive director; Tyrone Nelson, Board of Supervisors chairman; GayDonna Vandergriff, MHDS Board member; Dr. Jessica Brown, MHDS Board chairperson; and John Vithoulkas, county manager.

The $10 million, 30,735-square-foot East Center, at 3908 Nine Mile Road, is replacing a clinic about half its size in leased space on Laburnum Avenue. MHDS serves adults experiencing the effects of — or who are at risk for — mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance-use disorders and children with developmental delay in Henrico, Charles City and New Kent counties.

The new facility is “another significant investment in our community,” Board of Supervisors Chairman and Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson said.

“The East Center represents Henrico’s continuing commitment to enhance and expand services for all of our residents,” Nelson said.

The East Center features a medical unit with psychiatric and primary health care services, nurses’ offices, exam rooms and a pharmacy; a larger lobby and registration area; a children’s waiting area with toys and books; state-of-the-art telecommunications including telehealth services; and 5,000 square feet of unfinished space to accommodate future growth. The building has been constructed to attain Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Officials noted the East Center is designed for efficiency, as offices that typically serve the most clients have been located closest to the registration area. The facility has a “trauma-informed design,” including a water feature in the lobby, blue and green interior colors, and an outside seating area with flowers and trees. The design is intended to create a welcoming, calming atmosphere for clients, officials said.

“Henrico is thrilled to open another beautiful public facility in the east end of the county, but we are more excited about the impact this center will have on those who enter its doors,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said.

The 30,735 square-foot East Center, at 3908 Nine Mile Road, is replacing a clinic about half its size. The $10 million facility will serve about 1,100 clients a month initially; it has 5,000 square feet of unfinished space to accommodate expected growth.

Dr. Jessica Brown, chairperson of the MHDS Board, noted the current frequency of news reports on addiction, mental health and related topics. She recognized the significance of the efforts of mental health professionals.

“(MHDS) has a proven track record of providing evidence-based care that addresses the needs of the community,” Brown said. “The opening of the new East Center…sends a clear message to the surrounding area — Henrico County is committed to being on the cutting edge of providing quality mental health services to as many people as possible.”

The East Center, which employs a staff of 95, is expected to serve initially about 1,100 clients a month.

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