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Community Hospital Long Beach Leads the Fight for Mental Health Care for the Health and Well-being of Our Communities

Community Hospital Long Beach has a commitment to provide comprehensive mental health treatment interventions to help adults through their times of crisis. Led by a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, registered nurses, case managers, licensed psychiatric technicians (LPT) and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and mental health workers, Community Hospital Long Beach is leading the way in mental health treatment.

Dr. Clifford Feldman, MD, Medical Director of Mental Health, discusses the mental health plan options and the interventions that are paving the way for prevention, treatment and recovery.
Community Hospital Long Beach Leads the Fight for Mental Health Care for the Health and Well-being of Our Communities
Featured Speaker:
Dr. Clifford Feldman, MD
Clifford Feldman, M.D., Medical Director, Mental Health, Community Hospital Long Beach. Dr. Feldman is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Feldman strives to continue to create a system of welcoming and supportive care delivered to patients and families in the mental health setting.

Organization: Community Hospital Long Beach
Dr. Feldman's Bio

Deborah Howell (host): Hello and welcome to the show. You’re listening to Weekly Dose of Wellness brought to you by MemorialCare Health System. I’m Deborah Howell, and today’s guest is Dr. Clifford Feldman. Dr. Feldman is the Medical Director of Mental Health for Community Hospital Long Beach. Dr. Feldman is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Welcome, Dr. Feldman. Dr. Clifford Feldman (guest): Thank you, Deborah. It’s a pleasure to be here. Deborah: So, we’re all feeling mentally very well this morning, but how do you define a true mental health disorder? Dr. Feldman: That’s a very good and very complicated question with probably several answers. Sometimes these things are judged by different cultures or communities, and sometimes they are judged from a book. We use something called the diagnostic statistics manual. But really, it ultimately comes down to the person. When the person is having symptoms that makes them not function as they should, that’s when they go to seek help. Deborah: Could you give us a couple of examples? Dr. Feldman: Absolutely. We have many people who have depression and depression is fairly common, but usually it doesn’t get you to the point where you can’t function or can’t do your job. But when it does, it’s a treatable illness and people would go out to seek treatment just as if they hurt their leg and go to the orthopedist. Deborah: Do most people, when they have mental depression, do they really go out and seek a doctor or do some people just completely cocoon? Dr. Feldman: Well, there is a stigma somewhat still, unfortunately, in this society to go see a psychiatrist, but many people will go to their general physician and talk about depression. Actually, the general practitioners prescribe more anti depressants than psychiatrists do. Deborah: Really? Dr. Feldman: Yes. Deborah: I wouldn’t have guessed that. Well, what is the need then for mental health programs in our local communities? Dr. Feldman: There’s a tremendous need. First of all, all you need to do is open the newspaper or go on the web and you can see the need that’s readily apparent. Unfortunately, a lot of facilities these days are closing mental health for monetary or financial reasons. On the contrary, Long Beach Memorial and MemorialCare is actually taking the opposite tack and opening up mental health programs. Deborah: That’s wonderful to hear. Who is at risk then for mental health? Dr. Feldman: I would say that there’s a lifetime risk for pretty much everyone, but certainly, if you’ve had a family member or significant stressor, those put you at a little bit higher risk than the general population. A family member who’s had mental illness, I should say. Deborah: Would this apply for depression as well? In other words, if your mother was clinically depressed, you’d have the predisposition to also be that way? Dr. Feldman: I would say you’re a little higher likelihood than the general population if your family has an affective illness like bipolar or a major depression or even a psychotic illness like schizophrenia. Deborah: Is this something that should be tested at an earlier age? Dr. Feldman: Well, these things are not routinely tested. Usually, at earlier age, the kid is going to show symptoms in terms of their behavior and they may go to the school counselor and may get referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist that way. Maybe, in the future, these things could be tested, but right now, it’s not routinely tested. They’re kind of based on clinical symptoms. Deborah: What mental health services does Community Hospital Long Beach currently offer? Dr. Feldman: Right now, we have several services. We have an inpatient 28-bed adult psychiatric unit, which is for voluntary and involuntary patients. We also have what’s called a post-menopausal anxiety disorder and mood disorder unit for females who are postpartum and we have a geriatric psychiatry unit as well. Deborah: And those are all inpatient? Dr. Feldman: Those are inpatient right now. Deborah: Do you also have outpatient setting? Dr. Feldman: The only outpatient we have going right now is what’s called an Invega clinic. Invega Sustenna is a month-long acting antipsychotic, and patients who have schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder who sometimes don’t like to take pills can go to this clinic at Long Beach Memorial and get a monthly injection for their medication. Deborah: That’s wonderful. Dr. Feldman: I started that up with the help of, which manufactures Invega Sustenna, the medication. Deborah: This medication, tell me how it affects a patient who would take the injection. Dr. Feldman: People sometimes don’t have insight into their illness. Sometimes they don’t like medications for whatever reasons and they’ll go off their medications and that causes them to be re-hospitalized. In an effort to try and minimize recidivism in the hospital, we developed this clinic, whereby the patients would just get their shots once a month. Now, keep in mind, if people don’t like to take their medications, sometimes they don’t like to come for the shot also, but we’re trying. Deborah: Right. Good for you, trying to make it as easy as you can for as many people. Dr. Feldman: Yes. Deborah: What’s the main difference between the inpatient and the outpatient program? Dr. Feldman: The outpatient programs that we’re going to have very soon, probably before summer, include a clinic and a day program. The clinic, you would come to see your doctor for 15 to 20 minutes, get a prescription or see the therapist and leave and come back the next month. The day program means coming to group therapy three to five days a week for a pretty much whole day of groups but you go home at the end of the day. The inpatient level is for the more serious patients, maybe someone who is actively suicidal or hallucinating and they stay in the hospital. They are there 24 hours and when they're discharged, they can step down to the outpatient program. Deborah: That’s what I was going for. So, you sort of wean them off the inpatient system and make sure that they have a healthy entry back into society. Dr. Feldman: What we’re trying to do with the help of Krikor Jansezian, is to provide for each level of care, from the inpatient acute unit to the group program where you’re coming several days a week to the clinic where you’re just coming. Deborah: Fantastic. Do you have any plans to expand the Mental Health Program at Community Hospital Long Beach? Dr. Feldman: Absolutely. Well, I just mentioned in the Spring, we’re always going to have the day program in the clinic. But we’re also looking ahead to the future to possibly have a substance abuse detox unit and maybe an adolescent unit as well. Deborah: Would you say that pretty much every family has been affected in some way by mental health issues? Dr. Feldman: I would say that’s fairly accurate. Deborah: It’s really pervasive. Dr. Feldman: It is and it’s an under-met need and there are many reasons for that. Deborah: What can our listeners do if they think themselves or a loved one may have a mental health disorder and need immediate care? Dr. Feldman: That’s an excellent question, and just for that reason, we have a 24/7 hotline with an intake person that can refer that person who’s calling to any level of care that we offer. Deborah: At any time. Dr. Feldman: At any time. I’ll give you the number if you want. Deborah: Okay. Sure. Dr. Feldman: The number’s area code 855-245-2443. Deborah: And maybe one more time. Dr. Feldman: 855-245-2443. Deborah: Is there a website or some place else that I could learn about the Mental Health Program at Community Hospital Long Beach? Dr. Feldman: Yes. Our programs are posted on the website. Deborah: Okay, wonderful. What else do we need to know in the year 2013 about mental health and its stigmas? Dr. Feldman: That’s a good one. You know, we’re really trying to minimize the stigma and having services available to everyone in the community whether they can pay or not. We’re trying to diminish recidivism and people who are constantly hospitalized over and over at a great cost to society. Those are the things we’re working on. There are a lot of issues but those are the few things that we feel are kind of urgent to provide care to everyone regardless of ability to pay, to provide every level of service and to prevent overuse of the highest cost service. Deborah: Do you also visit schools? Because stigma starts young, you know, if a kid has some symptoms and signs but he’s functional and he’s in school, oftentimes they're ridiculed. Dr. Feldman: Absolutely. I did develop a plan to have a high school program where we would reach out. It’s just at the embryonic stages. But, yeah, that’s a great suggestion. Deborah: I think it’s so necessary because just because John is a little bit different, it doesn’t mean he can't make friends and shouldn’t be treated as unequal. Dr. Feldman: Well, ideally, early intervention is going to be fantastic for the person, for the family, and for society as well. Deborah: Best Buddies is a program where many kids who are a little bit behind mentally -- the parents say the hardest thing for them is that their kids can't make friends easily and so oftentimes, all it takes is a buddy. Dr. Feldman: Yes. Sometimes it’s that simple, but sometimes it’s a little more pervasive and you really need to seek professional help. Deborah: Absolutely. Well, we can't thank you enough for spending these 11 minutes that went way too fast with us this morning, Dr. Feldman. Dr. Feldman: It was my pleasure and thank you for having me. Deborah: It’s so good to know that you and your staff are providing wonderful care to so many in Long Beach and beyond. I’m Deborah Howell. Join us gain next time as we explore another Weekly Dose of Wellness, brought to you by MemorialCare Health System. You and your loved ones, have a great day together.