Insider extra: Solution for people experiencing mental health issues in Volusia, Flagler counties

New program helps patients ‘Navigate’ psychosis

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – It’s a first for Volusia and Flagler counties – a new option for young adults and even teenagers who are suffering from psychosis.

Nine months ago, SMA Healthcare in Daytona Beach created “Navigate” – the first and only place in Volusia and Flagler counties where children as young as 15 can come and get complete, coordinated, all-encompassing care the first time they have an episode of psychosis.

Jason Thompson, director of Navigate, explained psychosis.

“It could be hearing voices, delusional, they see other individuals around them, they hear people talking to them,” Thompson said.

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The program helps patients navigate the condition.

Hear from one patient who says this program saved his life:

“In a regular setting, the patient gets their meds and goes off and there’s nothing else, as opposed to Navigate which is a lot longer, more intensive and they get coordinated care,” Thompson said. “So it’s not just prescribing your meds. We’re going to make sure that we have the meds that conform to it, you’re getting individual therapy, there’s family counseling. If you want school an education and employment specialist is available. We have a peer support individual.”

The multiple buildings at SMA Healthcare in Daytona Beach each house the different components of care – case managers who design a treatment plan, family counselors, individual counselors, employment or education counselors and an onsite pharmacy if medication is prescribed.

“It’s coordinated care with other individuals on the team to make sure they’re reaching their goals,” Thompson said. “A lot of times it’s the parents that acknowledge it’s a problem and try and seek resources and help their child not commit suicide and do harm to themself or others. Because that’s what the reality is. If this is untreated these psychotic breaks can lead to those things. Some parents have gone all over the county to find services specifically like this.”

Thompson said 21 of the 30 Navigate spots are already filled and the program opened less than a year ago.

The first person to enroll in Navigate is about to graduate, and of the 21 people overall who’ve enrolled and committed to getting better, none of them have dropped out. Thompson said that’s getting results.

“It’s an extreme problem with kids, high schoolers, even middle schoolers,” Thompson said. “You have colleges and universities. Especially after the pandemic and even after these storms. People are having psychotic breaks.”

Schools, clinics and hospitals refer clients to Thompson and Navigate but anyone can just walk in.

Navigate is entirely voluntary; clients must decide they want to be there. And if they do, they must show up at least once a week for at least one year.

All Navigate services are free, other than the few dollars for medication. And you don’t need to be diagnosed with a disorder to enroll.

Contact SMA here.

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About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.