First in a series: There are many facets to caring for mental health problems

March 27, 2013

Bring up mental health in a conversation here at the beach and the response is likely to be, “Where are the physicians? Who do I go to?” Since the Sandy Hook incident in Connecticut, this question is being asked more and more. People want to learn more about mental health care for all ages. Some good things are happening. More trained help is needed.

Susan Phillips is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Parish of All Saints’ Church in Rehoboth Beach and St. George’s Chapel in Harbeson. As such, she participates in worship services and other aspects of parish life. But, there’s another unique aspect of her ministry. Every other month she runs, with the help of parishioners, a festive supper party at St. George’s Chapel for the men and women of three group homes: Taton House in Harbeson, the Georgetown Group Home and Hope House in Milford.

Phillips' suppers are a ministry not only hers, but also of the parishioners who help her set up the parish hall for a party, and prepare and serve the food. Each time, there is some aspect of celebration, birthdays and other events, along with prayers, the singing of hymns and good food. As many as 30 parishioners help with each party, and an equal number of guests come. The suppers started in 2007 even before Phillips was ordained a deacon. Some of the guests have come ever since the beginning, and the meals are gatherings of friends. Phillips, who is also a retired nurse, is uniquely qualified to do the mental health work she has undertaken.

She can be contacted through the parish office at 302-227-7202 for more information.


Recovery center opens in Sussex

Last year, an Ellendale Recovery Response Center opened to prevent, when possible, hospitalization and higher levels of care by rapidly getting to know a person’s needs, engaging in a voluntary recovery opportunity and connecting people 18 years of age and older to community services and supports. It is considered a crisis center for up to 23 hours and includes a psychiatry assessment. It is short-term and not inpatient care.

The center is funded through a contract with the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health so individuals can be served without regard to income or insurance status. The medical director (and psychiatrist) and other professionals oversee the care.

Referrals come from hospital emergency departments, law enforcement, mobile crisis teams, community agencies, family/friends and self-referrals. Call 302-424-5660 for more information or to seek help.

A Recovery Innovations Restart Program, also based in Ellendale, at 302-300-3105, is also now in place, and uses recovery navigators in targeted case-management situations, helping with issues such as housing and employment in an effort to get individuals back into the community. It seeks to provide those 18 years of age or older and with significant mental health or substance abuse issues with the help which can be obtained from the Ellendale Recovery Response Center.

For more information on the Ellendale offerings, go to


NAMI provides a number of classes

Sue Brunhammer is a program assistant with Delaware's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI DE. Working out of her home in Lewes, she primarily operates in Sussex and Kent counties, making sure participants for all the various classes NAMI offers have the publications and work sheets provided provide to participants. She can be reached through a Wilmington help line number, 888-427-2643.

Year round, there are monthly NAMI meetings at Lewes Presbyterian Church on the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. for family members and loved ones of individuals with mental illness. No registration is needed.

A NAMI Connections support group for people with mental illness meets every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Easter Seals building in Georgetown. No registration is needed.

Other classes are held in spring and fall. Call 888-427-2643 to register for fall classes. Get on the mailing list and receive a flier on the courses. In a number of cases, classes are taught by those dealing with mental illness (Peer to Peer) or those with loved ones with mental illness (Family to Family).

In some cases, NAMI DE can provide permanent housing, mostly single-family homes, for those dealing with mental illness. In Sussex County, there are 13 properties with housing capacity for 46 individuals. Go to

for more information.


Psychologist practices in Beebe facility

For two years, Dr. David Kalkstein, a psychologist, and his associates have had a practice in Rehoboth Beach at the Route 24 campus Beebe Medical Arts Building off John J. Williams Highway. His staff includes two psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Kalkstein said, “We must continue to learn from the recent Sandy Hook experience and remain committed to our children, their community and their needs.” For more information, call 302-644-2773.

“I can’t believe the changes that have taken place here in southern Delaware,” said Phillips. “Now, the crunch is to get more professionals in psychiatry to settle here, especially those serving the needs of children and young people.”



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