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Bringing Mental Healthcare out of the Shadows

Facing behavioral health needs as a community

There’s a gap in mental health care in rural Pennsylvania.

Distance to mental health providers, lack of public transportation to care, long waiting lists, shortage of providers and other barriers keep people in our region from getting the counseling they need.

And even when care is easily accessible, there are other hurdles. Like the social stigma linked to mental healthcare. In communities where it seems like everyone knows everyone else’s business, no one wants the stigma related to mental illness.  

74 percent of surveyed residents did not obtain mental healthcare because they could not afford it.

--Community Health Needs Assessment Survey – Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, June 2012

Geisinger is there

Educating our region on the value of mental health
Through community health fairs, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital (G-BH) educates our region about mental health issues such as suicide prevention, depression, bipolar disorder and stress management.  Helpful brochures and other materials are available to point people in the right direction for counseling and other resources. 

In-patient, hands-on care
Serving patients ages 15 and older since 1994, The G-BH Psychiatric Unit serves residents of Columbia, Luzerne, Montour, Northumberland, Sullivan, Snyder and Union counties, providing inpatient care and promoting education and awareness to patients, families and community members.  

Goals of the in-patient program are to provide: 

  • Education: To provide education on mental illness and substance abuse to individuals in the community, providers, and community agencies, such as stress management, depression, anxiety disorders and how to seek help.
  • Dignity: To reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage individuals to seek help for themselves or loved ones.
  • Coordination: To collaborate and network with community agencies to learn and keep up to date with resources that are available for patients in the community, and to assist agencies to utilize resources available within the Geisinger Health System/G-BH.

G-BH Psychiatric Unit participates in many locally-sponsored events and participates in the Wellness Fair & Health Sciences Symposium at Bloomsburg University, Annual Mental Health Fair & Nifty after Fifty at Columbia Mall, National Alliance on Mental Illness Annual (NAMI) community dinner and Camp Compeer/Camp Victory.  

Our Psychiatric Unit employees are members of the Columbia County Homeless Task Force and Project SELF (Seeing Every Life Flourish) Committee.