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RACSB: Many Reasons to be Hopeful

Pandemic did not stop RACSB from serving those in need

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s a kind of strength that the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) works every day to build in the Fredericksburg region through services across the areas of mental health, developmental disabilities, substance abuse prevention, early intervention and prevention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of these areas in ways we may just be beginning to understand. But as we work to identify the needs created by the pandemic, RACSB finds hope in the strength and creativity shown by its staff as they responded to an ever-changing array of pandemic-induced needs over the past two years.

The vast majority of RACSB employees continued in-person work through the pandemic. In many cases, they worked longer hours and handled greater challenges. Their work literally saved lives and helped our community in too many ways to count. We have listed a few examples here as reasons for hope that allow us to rest assured that although our community faces many challenges as we move into 2022, RACSB has the resilience to keep adapting to meet the needs of the people it serves.

  1. The pandemic exacerbated the opioid epidemic that has affected our community and so many others across the U.S. RACSB kept fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts.
    • Peer support groups went virtual.
    • Important substance abuse services, including outpatient therapy and drug court groups continued operations.
    • RACSB’s Medication Assisted Treatment program adapted to pandemic restrictions, serving 299 individuals this fiscal year.
    • REVIVE! training, which teaches people to reverse opioid overdoses, went virtual, and Rapid REVIVE! training was available at community events. In 2021, this agency has dispensed more than 200 doses of Narcan.
  2. “Hidden in Plain Sight” workshops that help parents learn to recognize the signs of substance abuse in adolescents went virtual, continuing to deliver critical information.
  3. When the pandemic closed in-person services, adults with developmental disabilities had to adjust to new routines and services. Group home staff went above and beyond to help adults in RACSB’s residential programs. These dedicated staff members had no option to work from home, but found themselves putting in far more hours, including nights, weekends and holidays, to help residents cope with the changes brought by the pandemic.
  4. Day programs that provide a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities and serious mental illness were shut down early in the pandemic. Knowing how important these programs are, staff members took services virtual, and got creative about developing new activities, such as exercise classes and bingo games.
  5. RACSB continued to partner with many other strong community organizations to spread helpful information and services. These partnerships include:
    • Mental health training to help local government employees avoid burnout.
    • The presence of our Prevention team at The Table, a food distribution effort at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
    • Distributing 500 Lock and Talk Virginia suicide-prevention resource bags to school counselors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and other community partners.
  6. In this fiscal year, RACSB has provided $4.3 million in financial assistance to area residents who lack insurance or other resources to pay for treatment.

Get to know the wealth of resources available from RACSB from our website, our programs in the community and our services. Visit rappahannockareacsb.org to learn more.

Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling is an award-winning journalist who helps Fredericksburg Parent and Family's advertisers tell valuable stories through magazine advertorials and videos. Emily also produces content for a wide variety of other clients and outlets. Find her on LinkedIn and at emilyfreehling.com.

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