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Eastside Behavioral Health: Meeting Changing Community Needs

When patients receive care through Eastside Medical Centers Behavioral Health Services, they are getting an entire team of healthcare professionals, psychiatrists, medical doctors, nurses, social workers, and even creative arts therapists. And they get a team cheerleader in Chief Administrative Officer of Eastside South Campus/Vice President of Behavioral Health, Margaret Collier.

I love interacting with the individuals we serve, says Collier, who, with empathy and compassion, has overseen Behavioral Health Services for the last two of twenty years and proudly shows visitors their mission, written on the hallway outside her office: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.

It is the why for what Eastside is doing to address, among other things, the growing substance abuse issue in our state, which includes partnering with organizations like Navigate Recovery, dedicated to providing peer support for those in crisis. As Collier says, Individuals will listen to those who have walked in their shoes before.

The medical component that Eastside Behavioral Health Services provides goes a long way towards helping those who may not maintain their health due to mental illness, and have higher instances of maladies like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.

At one time, Eastsides main focus was on geriatric behavioral issues but a younger population has mandated the need to expand and include new solutions for new problems, the opioid crisis chief among them.

Over the years, however, one thing hasnt changed. There still is a stigma associated with mental illness, says Collier, who adds that with mental illness comes fear of the unknown. And thats where Eastsides team approach extends beyond its walls to everyone affected.

We really believe that individuals are best treated in the context of their family and their community, says Collier, So we want to be a provider that educates families and other caregivers about how to care for this population in an appropriate manner.

The headlines cry out every day regarding the opioid epidemic and the lives being lost to addiction. Navigate Recoverys partnership with Eastside Medical Center is based on a mutual desire to serve our community and impact this national health emergency. Navigate Recoverys Lifeline program encourages people to enter into and remain in recovery from addiction. As a grassroots organization formed by people and families who have journeyed this difficult path themselves, Navigate Recovery has developed a partnership with Eastside to provide peer counseling to individuals. This program is making a positive impact one life at a time, one family at a time, here in Gwinnett.