The Arc Central Chesapeake Region was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the lack of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the years since, we have continued to expand the types of services we provide and the spaces in which we provide them, in order to meet the needs of our community. In the wake of the pandemic it has become clear that behavioral health services are among our community’s greatest needs, with a demand that still outstrips the availability of providers.

The Arc’s emphasis on behavioral health rose organically from our programming. In 2020, we received a small grant to start a program series called Coping with COVID. We envisioned these sessions as a way for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to process their emotions around the pandemic—meeting a very specific need at that time.

Witnessing the power and impact of these sessions was a pivotal moment for our team. We recognized that while people wanted to have these deeper conversations, there were no available services in the community to support them. We created our Behavioral Health program to fill that need and provide mental health support using a holistic, person-centered approach.

Our licensed clinicians provide individual and group therapies using trauma-informed care, giving people the tools they need to navigate life’s many moments. Every outcome our clinical team has achieved over the last three years has created a better quality of life for the person they support.

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This work shouldn’t be as innovative and progressive as it is. Providing tailored mental health services for people with disabilities is important. People want - and deserve - to be seen and heard. As The Arc’s physical presence across the region expands and we add more office spaces, we are including behavioral health counseling suites at each of our locations. This means that more people throughout the region can easily access tailored mental health counseling.

In the years ahead we plan to continue expanding services to support the mental health of children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are also in need of these critical services, as we also continue to expand the footprint we are able to serve them from. To learn more and support this work, please visit

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