Mental health provider closes, leaving patients in need and some employees without a job

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The tones in her head were discordant. While earning a bachelor’s degree in music from Norfolk State University, violinist Jaseona Pickett found a solution to long-standing mental health issues.

A team of professionals from Christian Psychotherapy Services wrote a score for her life that included medication, and therapy sessions. After graduation, Pickett returned to NSU in 2020 in pursuit of a master’s degree in music composition.

Pickett was proud that she had assembled the instruments for a harmonious life.

On the morning of Jan. 11, Pickett feared she would need a new score. She arrived at the Virginia Beach office of Christian Psychotherapy Services on Corporation Lane, where it became abundantly clear that something was wrong.

“When I came to the building, there was no receptionist. There was nobody in the building. I was at the waiting room the phones were still there, just ringing and ringing,” Pickett said.

After waiting in the lobby for 10 minutes, Pickett ventured upstairs to look for signs of life.

“It was pretty dark and that was pretty abnormal, so I kinda left and went back home and I emailed my regular therapist saying ‘Hey what’s going on?’ I’m not really sure if she got [the email] or anything,” she said.

Pickett later learned she had missed a phone call Sunday night from her nurse practitioner. 10 On Your Side listened to the voicemail from the nurse practitioner who had a note of uncertainty in her voice.

“[I’m] calling to let you know it appears that the practice has shutdown. I just found out about it,” said the nurse practitioner.

A former therapist for Christian Psychotherapy Services, who wants to remain anonymous, found out about the apparent closure and offered comments to members of the media.

Behind the wheel of her car outside the Corporation Lane location, the woman said the practice changed last summer following the death of the founder of the practice.

“It’s unfair to the African American community, it’s unfair to the mental health community and it’s unfair to the therapists,” said the former therapist.

10 On Your Side also heard from the mother of a son who has Asperger’s syndrome, says the sudden closure has exacerbated pandemic-related problems.

Katrina Huban told 10 On Your Side her son has heard discussions about the apparent closure but he has not processed how the closure could affect his mental health. As the nation remains in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, Huban is bracing for a setback for her son.

“Everything that we are going on now, there’s no normalcy. So, this was the only normalcy that he had left going on in his life,” said Huban.

The apparent closure has also turned life upside down for Pickett. While in graduate school, she works as a pizza delivery driver — a job that exposes her to people who refuse to wear a mask.

“In dealing with other people, coming into their house and risking my life. It takes a toll on your emotions and your mental health, especially when people don’t wear a mask and are having house parties. I’m risking my life and it takes a toll on me emotionally,” said Pickett.

WAVY-TV 10 has called six offices associated with the company. All calls produced a busy signal and the company’s website is no longer available on the internet. WAVY-TV also left several messages with a local attorney believed to represent Christian Psychotherapy Services. Calls to the attorney have not been returned.

The WAVY investigative team searched State Corporation Commission records and they state the company is in good standing with the commonwealth. The team also examined court filings in cities in which Christian Psychotherapy Services treats patients, and there are no records of significant litigation.

Pickett told 10 On Your Side she will miss her therapist.

“Of the few therapists that I’ve seen, she was the only one who laughed in my sessions. I really liked her because she was the only one that I felt that she had passion and that she loved doing what she did. I’m really distraught that I may not have that ever again,” said Pickett said.

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