Healthcare Heroes: A Taylor County doctor is promoting mental health care

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GRAFTON, W.Va. – Most of the time, when Dr. Andrew Berardinelli is at work at the Grafton City Hospital, he’s in the emergency room, dealing with whatever cases may show up at his door. While most of the time, it’s physical symptoms that bring people in, he says there’s a growing number of cases linked to mental health issues, too.

“When you’re actually dealing with them you come to realize that they have a substance use issue or an issue with anxiety that’s really the underlying cause of why they’re there. And then after talking with them, come to find out that they never really sought help for that sort of thing, and it’s really controlling their life,” Berardinelli said.

But when he’s not in the ER, he’s often working in the hospital’s behavior health clinic, dealing with a broad range of those mental health issues. The COVID pandemic certainly hasn’t made those issues any less prevalent, and that manifests in a range of reactions that often leaves little time for action.

“Especially with substance use patients, you need to be able to help them in the moment that they’re ready to get help because that moment may not last, so if you’re not able to deal with it in that specific moment, you may have lost your chance,” said Berardinelli.

Berardinelli wants people to know that he and the rest of the staff at the hospital have resources available to help deal with those challenges, including the soon-to-open behavioral health unit at GCH. And he hopes people understand there’s no shame in getting that help.

“There’s always been a stigma toward mental health, and trying to seek help or seek a therapist or all that stuff across the board, and we’re trying to, one, make patients more aware that help is here and we can help them through all this stuff, and two that it’s OK to seek help for this sort of stuff,” said Berardinelli.

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