Commentary, Local Commentary

Commentary: Mental Health & Access to Treatment Matters

By Ashley Summers, Dominion & Stone Springs Hospital

Mental health is part of overall health. Mental health conditions cause changes in thoughts, feelings and moods. Your mental health can affect many areas of your life including: home, work, school, relationships with others, sleep, appetite, decision making and may worsen other medical problems. According to
the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in every five adults in the U.S experiences a mental health condition. One in every five children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental health condition.

It’s a problem that Dominion Hospital hopes their programs will start to chip away at. Dominion Hospital, the only freestanding mental health facility in Northern Virginia, leads the region in short-term mental health services for children aged 5 to 12 years old, adolescents aged 13 to 17 years old and adults aged 18 years old and older. Their treatments include a 24/7 inpatient program, partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). In addition to Intersect, the dual diagnosis substance abuse program, they are also affiliated with Reflections Eating Disorders Center.

“Early intervention leads to better outcomes, better functioning, and better lives” says, Dr. Gary Litovitz, Chief Medical Officer of Dominion Hospital.

Dr. Litovitz works tirelessly alongside Dominion hospital staff, as they like to call it “team Dominion”, to keep an individual safe and ultimately save their life. Given the increasing mental health needs in our community they are constantly working to see how to better serve our mental health community needs.
One of these ways is creating a direct access to care phone line which allows providers to contact a mental health professional directly 24/7 to help their patient receive mental health care whether its inpatient or outpatient care thus decreasing unnecessary mental health emergency department visits.
Additionally, they offer online scheduling where an individual can schedule a no-cost assessment on a day/time that is most convenient for their schedule.

Having sufficient healthcare access helps individuals proactively manage their health challenges, leading to positive long-term health outcomes. In the U.S., healthcare access is a public health issue as many Americans lack the physical or financial resources to receive the healthcare services they need. Accessing mental healthcare is especially difficult due to lingering social stigmas and scarcity of services. To breakdown these barriers, Dominion Hospital is one of many HCA psychiatric hospitals around the country who are committed to a collaborative care model where they can work together with community partners to provide individuals with direct access to care.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can call them directly to discuss programs, care and treatment at 703-536-7000. If you are a provider, please call the direct admission line at 571-425-2164 Or, if you wish to schedule a no cost assessment please visit