For the millions of people who have vision loss, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or have developed other physical disabilities due to accident or illness, the psychological impact can be devastating. To meet the needs of these patients, Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, provides specialized mental health services to help address the psychological issues of vision loss.
Based in New York, Lighthouse Guild is the only facility in the country to offer a Behavioral Health Program with a staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, clinical social workers, creative art therapists and other health care professionals trained to address the particular needs of adults and children with vision loss, brain-related trauma caused by injury, stroke, cancer, spinal cord injury or other physical disability.
The program offers a comprehensive array of therapeutic services in both clinical and day-treatment settings. Psychotherapy, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology, as well as psychological and neuropsychological testing, are cornerstones of the clinical program.
“Because the psychological effects of vision loss, TBI or physical disability can be overwhelming and different for each individual, our physicians perform a complete assessment of the patient’s cognitive and emotional functioning,” says Dr. Goldie Dersh, Vice President of Lighthouse Guild’s Behavioral Health Program.
“Through psychometric testing, they can determine the extent to which the patient’s skills and abilities may have been affected by vision loss, mental illness, brain injury, stroke and/or learning disabilities,” she explains. “This helps us tailor treatment to optimize outcomes.”
The goal is to help people improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and reach their full potential, while reducing psychiatric and medical hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
Easy access to coordinated care
Behavioral Health professionals collaborate with community programs and group residences to simplify access to mental health care. The program provides group and individual therapy and operates a 24-hour crisis call line for patients.
Our Behavioral Health team works closely with the individual’s primary care provider and on-site specialists, including optometry, endocrinology, neurology and rehabilitation medicine to ensure that care is coordinated and integrated.
“Behavioral health services are one of the pillars of good healthcare and an essential component of coordinated, integrated care,” says Dr. Alan R. Morse, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “We want people with vision loss or brain injury who are dealing with mental health issues, to know that our Behavioral Health Program is here to help them.”
Lighthouse Guild’s Behavioral Health Program is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, serves patients in the five boroughs of New York City, and accepts Medicaid, Medicare and a wide range of insurance plans. With easily accessible facilities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, the Behavioral Health Program treats approximately 750 patients each year. The program is open to all individuals seeking behavioral health services.