PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Tucked behind a commercial building in the 3300 block of High Street, a fuchsia awning awaits to welcome many who have more than a mental health diagnosis, but rather, face a constellation of issues.

“Everything from food instabilities to housing instabilities and struggles with mental health come hand-in-hand with those concerns,” said Shante Williams, chief operating officer of Life’s Journey Mental Health Service Agency one week before the opening of the agency’s third location.

The Life’s Journey Mental Health Service Agency has offices in Norfolk and Hampton; its first Portsmouth location is due to open Monday, Aug. 14.

(Photo – Life’s Journey)

Inside the fully restored 1960s-era building, patients will see artwork that reflects the agency’s journey to restore a village.

“We are sending a message that we respect and appreciate our culture,” said Williams as she seemed to glide along the floors of the 5,000-square-foot building while sporting white and fuchsia colors.

In a conference room, one wall is decorated with several black and white photos that tell the stories of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and others.

Williams said those black and white photos will serve as inspiration for patients who participate in group substance abuse therapy sessions.

“We think that visibility is very important to be able to show those images,” Williams said.

Life’s Journey is in the process of assembling a team that will disassemble the constellation of issues that accompany mental health issues. No transportation is no problem. The agency will deliver certain medications to patients.

Williams said this type of service could play a role in avoiding situations such as tense standoffs involving police and mental health patients who have failed to take psychotropic medications.

Life’s Journey also has a team that responds in the community when a mental health patient is in crisis.

“If individuals are having a mental health crisis, our clinicians can respond as opposed to law enforcement,” Williams said. “We can hopefully work to ease those tensions between people who suffer from mental health challenges and the police.

“We don’t turn anybody away there may be times when we don’t have the resources that they are looking for but it’s our goal to connect folks with the resources they need.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Friday morning; the center staff will see its first patients the following Monday. For more information on services call 757-622-0700 or visit www.lifesjourneyservices.com.