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Psychiatric Services Now Available Through Washington Hospital

Individuals seeking psychiatric services in Southern Alameda County now have access to a staff psychiatrist through Washington Hospital. Previously, those individuals have had to rely on private doctors or travel to Oakland to use county mental health services.

“Washington Hospital’s leadership has been concerned for some time about how difficult it has been for residents to have access to local community mental health services,” said Dr. Seema Sehgal, the new psychiatrist on staff.

“We are breaking new ground and establishing psychiatry as a core service through the Washington Hospital Medical Foundation,” Dr. Sehgal explained. As the first physician in the new department, Dr. Sehgal is working to expand services quickly.

The new Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science is located at 2299 Mowry Ave., suite, 2C, in Fremont, phone number 510.248.1820. The department opened for business at the end of March.

“The need is very real in the community,” Dr. Sehgal said. “On my very first day, I had patients waiting to see me and I’ve been seeing three or four new patients a day since then.” Patients range in age from 18 years up.

Dr. Sehgal has extensive experience in Alameda County having served as a staff psychiatrist with the Alameda County Department of Health Services for the past 16 years. For 15 years, she worked in community psychiatry dealing with severe, chronic mental illness.

During her time with Alameda County, Dr. Sehgal also was physician in charge of the Integrated Primary Care and Behavioral Health Program.

She also was a crisis response psychiatrist for Alameda County for four years working with acute/sub-acute psychiatric emergencies. And, she provided short-term consultation and management for patients within the primary care clinic network in Alameda County.

A native of India, Dr. Sehgal was a medical officer with the Indian Armed Forces dealing with traumatic injuries and orthopedics before moving to the United States. She served her psychiatric residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

As a medical doctor, Dr. Sehgal can prescribe medications to patients. Patients then can be seen by a therapist or return to their primary care physician for follow-up.

Dr. Sehgal is working to expand Washington Township Medical Foundation’s core services to include individual and group therapy, in addition to the psychopharmacological (psychiatric medication management) services with the help of additional psychiatrists and trained therapists.

In the future, she plans to offer community education programs about mental health issues so that individuals in need, and their families and friends, can learn about mental health issues and seek help sooner. “The need is here,” she says.