McClendon Center is certified by the DC Department of Behavioral Health as a Core Services Agency (CSA). At the CSA, we provide four Core Services:
Our CSA is staffed by Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers, Team Leaders, a team of bachelors-level Community Support Specialists, Registered Nurses, and a number of part-time psychiatrists, five of whom are third and fourth-year psychiatry residents from George Washington University. All the staff work together in multi-disciplinary teams to provide mental health rehabilitation services. We also operate a 24/7 on-call service to meet clients’ needs after hours and on weekends.
To make an intake appointment, please call the Access Help Line at 1-888-793-4357. This is a service provided by the Department of Behavioral Health, and is answered 24 hours each day.
Clients can assist in the Intake Assessment by having the following information with them:
- Medicaid and/or Medicare numbers
- Name and number of an emergency contact person
- Name and number of their next of kin
- Name and number of their primary care physician
- List of all medications being taken
- Dates and locations of any hospitalizations
All clients initially meet with one of our psychiatrists to determine if they could benefit from medication management. Most clients make the decision that medications would help them, though all clients have the option of taking medication or not. Medications are prescribed to address the symptoms expressed by the client and observed by the doctor. Follow-up visits are scheduled, often every four weeks, so the doctor can determine how well the medication is working and whether or not there are any troubling side effects. The doctor works alongside one of our nurses, who also checks for physical conditions. The nurse often makes referrals to the client’s primary care provider and follows up to make sure that the client’s health is optimal. When needed, the Community Support Specialist assists the client in filling prescriptions.
When medications are being properly managed, the client’s symptoms are controlled with the fewest number of medications and on the lowest possible dose. The client can assist greatly in this process by taking medications in the prescribed dose and at the designated time. Another way clients succeed in managing their symptoms is to keep all scheduled appointments with their doctors.
Applying for benefits and navigating the mental health system are difficult, and clients usually need assistance with these and other case management tasks. Every client is assigned a Community Support Specialist (CSS) whose job is to manage all aspects of a client’s services. Each CSS is assigned to a team and works with approximately twenty-five clients. More than 80% of their time is spent out of the office providing home visits, accompanying clients to appointments, and helping clients with numerous activities in the community.
Because they spend so much time out of the office, CSS staff are issued cell phones as their office phones. This makes them easy to contact at all times, even after hours and on weekends when they forward their phones to a designated staff member who is on call for the Center. Each client is provided with their CSS’ cell phone number and is encouraged to call when needed, especially if the client is experiencing a crisis.
Many clients struggle with issues that can be explored with a trained therapist. Often, these issues deal with trauma, conflicts in relationships, and other troubling concerns. Appointments with a therapist are usually scheduled one time per week and, because our therapists come to the CSA specifically for these appointments, the client must keep all scheduled appointments in order to continue with our therapy services.